RIVALRY IN THE CZECH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION




Şimal Çınar –TDO- In the Czech presidential election starting on Friday, a pro-EU academic who is a former head of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Jiri Drahos, is seeking to unseat anti-immigration political veteran Milos Zeman. Zeman is known for having sought closer relations with Russia and China, leading calls against accepting migrants from mainly Muslim countries and calling for the removal of EU sanctions imposed over Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea has divided the nation.

Even though Jiri Drahos has been running tight he claimed that he has been a victim of false accusations which aim to effect the opinion polls such as pedophile, communist collaboration and more importantly pro-immigrant elitism which is a sensitive topic in the country where anti-immigrant sentiment is high.

In the first round of voting, Zeman won 38.6 percent whereas Drahos got 26.6 percent. But since then, Drahos has won endorsements from most of the other candidates who were eliminated in the first round. In a final poll released on Monday, Drahos led with 47 percent to 43 percent for Zeman, while 10 percent were undecided. The Czech election is considered as a part of the pattern of division between more socially liberal and conservative camps that have spreaded around Europe and also the United States.