Czech Republic

Articles about voting issues in the Czech Republic.

Czech Republic: Czech Republic Re-elects Milos Zeman, Populist Leader and Foe of Migrants | The New York Times

After an election campaign centered on questions of civility in politics and the Czech Republic’s place in Europe, voters decided on Saturday to stick with President Milos Zeman and his often-caustic brand of populism that has stoked resentment toward Muslim immigrants and ruptured the country’s relationship with its allies to the west. His opponent, Jiri Drahos, a political novice whose views were not well known, sought to present himself as an antidote to what he characterized as Mr. Zeman’s bitter and divisive leadership. In recent years, Mr. Zeman, 73, has strengthened the country’s ties with Russia and has courted China. Mr. Drahos, 68, offered a firm commitment not just to the country’s membership in the European Union, but also to the bloc’s values. In rejecting his vision, the country was poised to continue in the same euroskeptic direction as its neighbors Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Read More

Czech Republic: Pro-Europe Czechs hope for early spring in Prague, push to defeat Putin-friendly president | The Washington Post

Over more than a millennium, the awe-inspiring Prague Castle has been home to Bohemian kings, Holy Roman emperors, Nazi commanders, communist apparatchiks and one playwright-turned-dissident who helped topple a superpower. Now the castle’s imposing stone walls and soaring Gothic spires are home to yet another era-defining figure — a president who for the past five years has turned it into a citadel of European populism. As Czech president, Milos Zeman has used his lofty official residence to hurl down verbal thunderbolts expressing, in characteristically profane terms, his disdain for Muslims, journalists and the European Union. He has meanwhile shown fawning admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin and others who can bend democratic systems to their iron nationalist will.  Read More

Czech Republic: Presidential election on a knife-edge as challenger cries foul | The Guardian

Miloš Zeman, the populist Czech president, faces a fight for his political life in an election run-off against a pro-western liberal rival who claims he has been the victim of dirty tricks. With the outcome on a knife-edge, Zeman’s challenger, Jiří Drahoš, a former head of the Czech Academy of Sciences who is campaigning to cement the Czech Republic’s place in the EU and Nato, says he has been smeared as a paedophile, communist collaborator and pro-immigrant elitist with ties to Angela Merkel. The accusations could have a decisive effect, with opinion polls showing Drahoš has a slight edge over Zeman heading into the ballot, to be held on Friday and Saturday. Read More

Czech Republic: Fake News Kicks Into High Gear In Czech Presidential Runoff | RFERL

In the first round of the Czech presidential election earlier this month, Jiri Drahos was variously portrayed — without substantiation — as a pedophile, a thief, and a communist collaborator. The smears were part of a string of unfounded allegations in social media and on websites suspected of dealing in fake news. Now that the pro-Europe challenger’s campaign in a second-round runoff against incumbent Milos Zeman, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strongest allies in central Europe, is in full swing, the disinformation gloves have come off once again. Read More

Czech Republic: Presidential election headed for tight run-off vote -poll | Reuters

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. Read More

Czech Republic: Government resigns as prime minister fights corruption allegations | The Guardian

The Czech Republic’s minority government has resigned, plunging the country into deeper political turmoil, as its recently installed prime minister, Andrej Babiš, fights allegations that he abused an EU subsidy programme a decade ago. Wednesday’s resignation – a month after Babiš’ appointment – came a day after the government resoundingly lost a vote of confidence it had to win to stay in office. It will continue as a caretaker administration while the Czech president, Miloš Zeman, decides what to do. Zeman – a populist who has earned notoriety for xenophobic statements – had pledged to reappoint Babiš, a close ally, in the event of Tuesday’s confidence vote defeat, which had been widely anticipated. Read More

Czech Republic: Government loses confidence vote in parliament | Deutsche Welle

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis has lost a vote of confidence in parliament on Tuesday. Originally scheduled for January 10, the vote was delayed after an eight-hour debate last week. Babis, the country’s second wealthiest man, is fighting corruption allegations related to suspicious EU subsidies that benefitted his business a decade ago. Since his ANO (Yes) party won last October’s election by a large margin, it will certainly stay in power. The only question is whether Babis will remain at the helm. Parliamentarians voted 117-78 against the prime minister. Although he and his cabinet will now be forced to resign, they will nevertheless remain during the transition until a new government can be formed. Read More

Czech Republic: President leads voting, but will face runoff election | Associated Press

Czech President Milos Zeman failed to win re-election during the first round of a presidential election Saturday and will face a runoff in two weeks against the former head of the country’s Academy of Sciences. Zeman and Jiri Drahos advanced to a second round of voting because none of the nine candidates seeking the Czech Republic’s largely ceremonial presidency received a majority of votes in the first round held Friday and Saturday. However, with almost all ballots counted by the Czech Statistics Office, Zeman had 38.6 percent of the vote, a commanding lead over Drahos’ 26.6 percent. A former diplomat, Pavel Fischer, was a distant third with 10.2 percent. Songwriter Michal Horacek finished fourth with 9.2 percent, ahead of physician Marek Hilser, who had 8.8 percent. The three pledged their support to Drahos in the runoff. Read More

Czech Republic: In Czech Election, a Choice Between Leaning East or West | The New York Times

A people feeling left out, condescended to and ignored. A fear that outsiders fleeing war and poverty in Muslim nations threaten the homeland. And a deep distrust of institutions, especially governments that seem disconnected from daily concerns. From Poland to Pennsylvania Avenue, populist leaders have risen to power in recent years by tapping into these deeply emotional issues. In two weeks, one of the most outspoken of those leaders, President Milos Zeman, 73, of the Czech Republic, will face a test that could provide a barometer for the enduring strength of that message in this country and perhaps across the region. The second and final round of the presidential election will help decide whether the Czech nation continues to be drawn east toward Russia and China or moves back more fully into the embrace of the European Union. Read More

Czech Republic: Miloš Zeman to face run-off after topping Czech presidential elections | The Guardian

The Russia-friendly Czech president, Miloš Zeman, has won the first round of voting to retain his job, according to nearly complete results from Saturday’s poll. However, he will face a formidable challenge from the pro-western runner-up, Jiří Drahoš, in the second round of voting in two weeks. The vote was seen as a referendum on the 73-year-old Zeman, in office since 2013, who has criticised immigration flows from Muslim countries and Germany’s decision to accept many migrants. While most Czechs share his views on immigration, Zeman’s inclination towards far-right groups and his warm relations with Russia and China have split public opinion, with a sizeable chunk of the electorate favouring pro-western candidates, including 68-year-old academic Drahoš. Read More