Daily news summary
Miloš Zeman to face Jiří Drahoš in run-off presidential election
Miloš Zeman and Jiří Drahoš have emerged as the strongest candidates from the first round of the Czech presidential election and are heading to a run-off for the top post in two weeks’ time.
The incumbent Czech president Miloš Zeman headed the polls going into the first round and confirmed the estimates by coming first with 38.6 percent of the vote.
Jiří Drahoš, a former head of the Czech Academy of Sciences, who was regarded as Mr. Zeman’s most serious challenger, came second with over 26.6 percent of the vote.
Pavel Fischer, a diplomat and a former Czech ambassador to France, came in third with little over ten percent of the votes, closely followed by Michal Horáček and Marek Hilšer, who finished with 9.2 and 8.8 percent respectively. Former prime minister and former leader of the centre-right Civic Democratic Party Mirek Topolánek got a little over four percent to finish sixth, followed by Jiří Hynek, Petr Hannig and Vratislav Kulhánek.
Turnout in Friday and Saturday’s vote was slightly over 60 percent, more or less the same as in the first direct presidential elections five years ago.
Most commentators expect a tight race between Mr Zeman and Mr Drahoš in the run-off election. Much will probably depend on the voter turnout in the second round.
Most defeated candidates endorse Jiří Drahoš in second round
Most of the defeated candidates, including Pavel Fischer, Marek Hilšer and Mirek Topolánek, have given their endorsement to Jiří Drahoš in the second round of the presidential election.
Michal Horáček said he would support any candidate running against Miloš Zeman in the second round, while former Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek called on his voters not to stay at home in the second round and vote for Jiří Drahoš.
Vratislav Kulhánek, who finished last in the first round of the presidential elections, has also given his backing to Mr Drahoš, arguing that era of Miloš Zeman was over.
President Zeman agrees to face Jiří Drahoš in TV debate
Czech president Miloš Zeman, who is running for re-election, is ready to take part in a television debate with his rival Jiří Drahoš ahead of the second round of presidential election.
Mr Zeman made the announcement at a press conference on Saturday after over 99 percent of the vote was counted. The incumbent Czech president has so far refused to take part in any debates with other candidates.
Speaking from the headquarters of the Party of Civic Rights in Prague’s Hradčany, Mr Zeman thanked his supporters and asked them to come to the second round of the presidential election.
Petr Fiala re-elected lead of Civic Democratic Party
Petr Fiala was re-elected as chairman of the Civic Democratic Party at the party’s election conference in Ostrava on Saturday. Mr.Fiala, who has led the party since 2014 andran for the top post unchallenged, was supported by 451 delegates out of 483.
The centre-right Civic Democratic Party emerged as the second strongest in the parliamentary elections last October. However, they reject a coalition with ANO party of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.
Police looking for witnesses to bus accident which left three dead
Police are looking for witnesses of a bus crash on the outskirt of Prague on Friday, in which three people died and 45 others were injured. The incident happened at around 4 p.m. on Friday in a small town of Horoměřice northwest of Prague. The bus collided with a car and skidded off the road, smashing into a tree.
Several people were rushed into hospital in a serious condition, including two children who sustained major head injuries and had to be placed into artificial comas. The driver of the car and two bus passengers were killed in the incident. Rescue workers had to free passengers who were trapped inside the bus.
Czech biathlon star Koukalová pulls out of Olympics
Two-time biathlon world champion Gabriela Koukalová will not take part in the Olympic Games in South Korea next month.
According to the Czech Biathlon Union, the 28-year old athlete won’t recover in time from a calf problem that has kept her out of World Cup events so far this season.
Koukalová, a double Olympic silver medallist from Sochi, said she had tried her best to return but unfortunately couldn’t train as she hoped.
Sunday is expected to be overcast with occasional snow showers and daytime highs ranging between -2 and 2 degrees Celsius.