TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Leftist elected as Czech president

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, 7:58 p.m.
 

PRAGUE — A left-leaning ex-prime minister staged a big return to power on Saturday by winning the Czech Republic's first directly elected presidential vote.

With all the votes counted, Milos Zeman won 54.8 percent of the vote for the largely ceremonial post, the Czech Statistics Office reported. His opponent, conservative Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, had 45.2 percent.

“Long live Zeman!” his supporters chanted at his campaign headquarters in Prague.

“I promise that as a president elected in a direct popular vote, I will try to be the voice of all citizens,” Zeman said.

Voters seemed to punish Schwarzenberg for the government's unpopular austerity cuts that aimed to reduce the budget deficit.

“It definitely didn't help me,” Schwarzenberg said, adding he will continue to serve as foreign minister.

Since Czechoslovakia split into Slovakia and the Czech Republic in 1993, the Czech Republic has had two presidents elected by Parliament: Vaclav Havel and Vaclav Klaus. Bickering during those votes led lawmakers to give that decision to the public.

The 68-year-old Zeman will replace the euro-skeptic Klaus.

Zeman is considered more favorable toward the 27-nation European Union, to which the country belongs. People in his inner circle have close business ties with Russia so “he might become an advocate of closer relations with Russia,” said Josef Mlejnek, an analyst from Prague's Charles University.

Zeman is not opposed to pre-emptive strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities and opposes Kosovo's independence.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Cuban spy’s parents search for son Sarraff
  2. 2 ISIS leaders dead in airstrikes, U.S. says
  3. Canadian woman who helped ducks gets prison in fatal crash
  4. Putin confident in financial recovery, tells Russians West cannot ‘chain the bear’
  5. Dozens killed, scores missing in Nigeria attack
  6. Abbas seeks talks on U.N. Security Council resolution for Palestinian state
  7. Colombia shuns rebels’ truce, saying conditions unacceptable
  8. Taliban siege at Pakistani school ends with 141 dead
  9. Hope for better days in Pakistan shattered in school attack
  10. Bad day for Israel: U.N. criticizes West Bank settlements; Hamas off EU terror list
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.