Czech voters are equally split ahead of a presidential vote next weekend between an academic who promises a better relationship with the European Union and incumbent Milos Zeman, who has used his time in office to push closer ties with Russia and China. A poll by Kantar TNS for Czech Television shows voters leaning 45.5 percent for Zeman and 45 percent for Jiri Drahos, who is a former head of the Academy of Sciences. In the poll, which had 1,522 respondents, some 9.5 percent were undecided or not answering. Drahos also had a slightly higher number of “certain” voters than Zeman.
The Jan. 26-27 second round echoes other elections in the past two years across the European Union as well as U.S. President Donald Trump’s battle with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the White House in 2016.
The 73-year-old Zeman has courted the far right in rejecting migrants from Muslim countries while pursuing warmer relations with Russia and China and sniping at the press. He won the first election round with 38.6 percent of the vote.
Drahos, 68, finished second on 26.6 percent with support from liberal voters attracted by his policies favoring European Union integration.