The Czech Republic held its first ever direct presidential election on Friday/Saturday. This followed last year’s constitutional amendment.
Here are the results from aktualne.cz:
- Miloš Zeman (Party of Civic Rights – Zeman’s people) – 24.21%
- Karel Schwarzenberg (Tradition Responsibility Prosperity 09 – TOP09) – 23.4%
- Jan Fischer (Independent) – 16.35%
- Jiří Dienstbier (Czech Social Democratic Party) – 16.12%
- Vladimír Franz ((Independent) – 6.84%
- Zuzana Roithová (Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People’s Party) – 4.95%
- Taťana Fischerová (Key Movement) – 3.23%
- Přemysl Sobotka (Civic Democratic Party) – 2.46%
- Jana Bobošíková (Sovereignty – Jana Bobošíková Bloc) – 2.39%
So, the second round of the election will take place on 25-26 January. The two candidates, Miloš Zeman and Karel Schwarzenberg, are both relatively pro-European. Zeman is from the social democratic side of the political spectrum, whereas Schwarzenberg is from the liberal tradition. Zeman was PM from 1998-2002. Schwarzenberg is the current Foreign Minister.
Currently, the Czech government is unpopular and has faced various political difficulties. Specifically, it is now a minority government, though it can generally rely on the support of independents to stay in office. This will be put to the test next week. Reuters, via Parlgov, is reporting that the government faces a vote of no-confidence on 17 January. This is in response to President Klaus’s controversial decision at the New Year to amnesty around a quarter of prisoners in the country on the 20th anniversary of the Republic. The domestic politics of the government may affect the vote for the presidential candidates at the second round.
Welcome to semi-presidentialism!