Czechs vote as liberals challenge populist Eurosceptic president

Elias Hubbard
January 12, 2018

"The Czech Republic needs a courageous president who will not be intimidated!"

She stood directly in front of the 73-year-old Milos Zeman, who was preparing to present his identification to the election commission. She was reported to belong to the activist group, Femen, and was shouting 'Zeman Putin's slut.' Zeman has been known for his support of the Russian president.

A pair of Mr Zeman's bodyguards ushered him away while others wrestled the woman to the ground, handcuffed her and removed her from the building.

Femen, an global feminist group that originated in Ukraine, said on its website that the woman was Ukrainian citizen Angelina Diash.

Leading the charge against Mr Zeman is Jiri Drahos.

Mr Zeman has spoken out over the sanctions against Moscow and dismissed the conflict in the Ukraine as merely a "civil war" - a stance that was at odds with the government's official policy.

If no candidate wins a majority of the vote, a run-off election between the top two candidates will be held two weeks later.

Prof Drahos, a chemical engineer and former president of the Czech academy of sciences, pledges to restore the dignity and honour to the presidency that he says Mr Zeman has squandered since entering Prague Castle in 2013. Others with a chance to advance to the runoff are Mirek Topolanek, an outspoken leader who served as prime minister from 2006 to 2009, and Pavel Fischer, a former diplomat.

His most serious challenger Mr Drahos scored 44.9 percent.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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