Daily news summary
Miloš Zeman re-elected Czech president after beating Jiří Drahoš
Current Czech president Miloš Zeman has become the first head of state to be returned to office in a public vote. Miloš Zeman won around 52% support against challenger Jiří Drahoš’ 48 percent. The turnout was given as around 66.5 percent.
Challenger Drahoš, a former head of the Czech Academy of Sciences, conceded defeat at just before 4 PM local time. He said that although they had not won, they had not lost either. He highlighted the wave of energy that had accompanied his campaign and said he would be staying in public life.
Drahoš won in most of the main cities, with the exception of industrial Ostrava. Zeman’s support mostly came from smaller towns and the country. Analysts argued that Zeman’s ‘common touch’ paid off.
Zeman, 73, cast himself as the political veteran and experienced pair of hands against newcomer Drahoš. He will have a five year term and is likely to be immediately involved in moves to establish a new government following October’s elections won by Andrej Babiš’ ANO party.
Re-elected Miloš Zeman highlights increased support
Newly re-elected president Miloš Zeman highlighted the fact that he won more votes this time round, around 2.8 million, than in the previous contest five years ago in his victory speech. He got around 2.7 million in 2013.
Zeman said he hoped he would not disappoint those who supported him and that the election had been comparatively close. He added that over the following years he would continue head out into the country to talk and listen to citizens and would work just as hard as over the previous five years.
Zeman underlined the fact that this would be his last political victory and there would be no more losses. The Czech president is limited to two terms in office.
Three’s a crowd at Czech polling station during presidential vote
Czech Radio reported that at at least one polling station in the České Budějovíce region voters were offered a choice between three candidates instead of the two candidates in the head to head run-off.
Voting papers for Pavel Fischer, who came third in the previous round, were offered in addition to those for current president Miloš Zeman and challenger Jiří Drahoš.
The error was confirmed by the local counting supervisor. The Ministry of Interior said the mistake lasted for around 17 minutes during which time three votes were cast. The overall results of the election are not threatened, deputy minister Petr Mlsna said.
The error was caused when some papers from the previous round were kept just in case one of the two winners dropped out unexpectedly.
At one polling office near the ski resort of Bedřichov voting papers ran out on Friday evening when more people than expected turned up, Czech Radio reported.
Firearms possession rises in Czech Republic in 2016
The number of Czechs with permits to have firearms increased last year to 303,000, according to the police.
That figure is around 2,700 more than in 2016 and 11,000 more than two years ago.
Police say the rising trend of gun ownership has been caused by fears over migration, terrorist attacks, and fear of personal assault.
The number of guns, rifles and other firearms kept at home by Czechs rose to around 850,000, around 100,000 more than five years ago.
Czech chemical specialists leave for Iraq
A team of Czech army chemical weapons specialists left Prague for Iraq on Saturday morning.
The team of 12 specialists will spend six months training Iraqi counterparts in dealing with chemical weapons before their return. A team of air force advisors is also at the moment in Iraq helping their counterparts.
The Czech Republic’s chemical weapons specialists have established a reputation in NATO for their expertise.
Son Sebastian Korda wins US title almost 20 years after father
The son of former Czech tennis star Petr Korda, Sebastian Korda has won the Australian Open junior tournament.
The win for the 17-year-old came nearly on the 20th anniversary of his father’s sole win in a Grand Slam tournament at Melbourne.
Sebastian Korda, now living in the US, beat Taiwan’s Chun Hsin Tseng 7:6, 6:4 in a tight match that hinged on a few points.
The weather on Sunday will be cloudy with rain expected in border regions. Top daytime temperatures will range between 5 and 8 degrees Celsius.