Incumbent Milos Zeman won the first round of the Czech Presidential election today as predicted, but failed to reach the 50 per cent score required to avoid a run-off. With 38.6 per cent of the vote, the veteran Social Democrat advanced considerably on his 2013 first round score of 24.2 per cent, and was placed first in every region of the country apart from the capital Prague.
However Zeman’s score was a couple of points short of the projections of the final opinion polls. That, together with a solid result of 26.6 per cent (in line with polling) for his main opponent, independent centrist Jiri Drahos, means that the second round is likely to be a difficult contest for the strongly anti-immigration and pro-Russian Zeman.
Of the remaining seven candidates, musician and entrepreneur Michal Horacek, once seen as a strong contender in the race, underperformed the opinion polls in securing just 9.2 per cent of the vote. Others candidates also saw their support squeezed as the media increasingly focused on the ‘two horse race’ between Zeman and Drahos, and the clash of political values it represents.
That clash will now culminate in a run-off between the two on 26-27 January. Not all polls have asked respondents about this second round match-up, but among the eight that have done since April 2017, Drahos has led in six, Zeman in one, with one tie.
CZECH PRESIDENCY 12-13 January 2018
1st round, total votes and per cent
Milos Zeman (SPO) 1.985,547 votes or 38.56%
Jiri Drahos (Ind) 1,369,601 or 26.60%
Pavel Fischer (Ind) 526,694 or 10.23%
Michal Horacek (Ind) 472,643 or 9.18%
Marek Hilser (Ind) 454,949 or 8.83%
Mirek Topolanek (Ind) 221,689 or 4.30%
Jiri Hynek (REAL) 63,348 or 1.23%
Petr Hannig (Rozumni) 29,228 or 0.56%
Vratislav Kulhanek (ODA) 24,442 or 0.47%
Eligible voters: 8,366,433
Valid votes: 5,148,141
Turnout: 61.92% (2013: 61.31%)
Source: Czech Statistical Office. Full official results here.
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