President Miloš Zeman voted in a Prague suburb on Friday afternoon amid
stepped up security.
Around 20 journalists complained that they had not been allowed into the polling station when he cast his vote. Zeman referred jokingly to the incident two weeks previously when a Ukrainian woman disrupted his voting by running topless at Zeman shouting ‘Zeman, Putin slut.’ The protester was bundled to the ground by a member of the president’s security.
The comments are a reference to Zeman’s perceived pro-Russian stance and support for the Russian president. Challenger Jiří Drahoš also voted in Prague on Friday. He said that he represented security and promised a better deal for the socially weak.
Czechs have started voting in the second round of the presidential
elections pitting current head of state Miloš Zeman against challenger
Polling booths opened at 2 PM in the afternoon and were due to close at 10 pm. The voting restarts on Saturday from 8 AM to 2 PM. The count will take place immediately with the full results promised in the later afternoon.
In the first round, 61.9 percent of eligible voters took part. Zeman won 38.6 percent of the vote with Drahoš getting 26.6 percent. Around 5.15 million votes were cast of the possible 8.4 million in the first round two weeks ago.
Five years earlier in the previous presidential vote, the second round participation was slightly down on the first round .
Czech snowboarder Ester Ledecká has won her fourth World Cup event in the
giant parallel competition this season.
She triumphed in the final of the event in Bansko, Bulgaria, against Germany’s Selina Jőrg.
The win confirm’s Ledecká’s current form and the fact that she has been tipped as one of the Czechs’ biggest medal hopes at the upcoming Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Most of the members of the winning Czech Olympic ice hockey team from
Nagano will get together in Prague on February 5 to mark the 20th
anniversary of their victory.
The reunion has been arranged to mark what is seen as a key moment not just in sporting but also national history, according to the national ice hockey association which is organising the event.
Seventeen of the 23-strong squad which won gold have promised to take part as well most of the back-up team. One notable exception will by Jaromír Jágr, still playing for the Calgary Flames.
The Czech Republic is on the verge of a flu epidemic, according to the
State Health Institute.
It said that there were 1,224 cases of flu per 100,000 people. That’s an advance of around 10 percent of cases on the previous week. The ratio of cases still falls just short of that needed for a flu epidemic to be declared.
The overall crime rate dropped in the Czech Republic in 2017 by around 7.3
percent compared with 2016 with around 202,000 criminal acts investigated,
police said on Friday.
Crime dropped in 12 out of the country’s 14 regions with the two exceptions being the Plzeň and Karlovy Vary regions.
The drop in overall crime is for the fourth year in a row. The clear up rate came in at 53.3 percent. On the other hand, the number of murders increased by 10 to 146.
Outgoing Czech prime minister and ANO leader Andrej Babiš has opposed the
idea of a regional development bank covering the Visegrad four countries,
Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
Ahead of a meeting of the Central European grouping on Friday in Budapest, Babiš said the main task of the Czech government was to deal with Czech banks.
Hungary and Poland have been the main backers of a regional development bank on the grounds that European Union funds for such a purpose are likely to dry up in the future. The Budapest meeting was also scheduled to discuss migration policy ahead of an EU meeting in Brussels next month.
An estimated 2.6 million people watched the final televised presidential
debate between current head of state Miloš Zeman and challenger Jiří
Drahoš on public broadcaster Czech Television on Thursday night.
Many commentators reckoned honours were fairly even between the two in a much more subdued setting than the rowdy atmosphere on commercial broadcaster Prima two days earlier.
Questions focused on Zeman’s presidential team and advisors, foreign relations, campaign backers, and the candidates’ stand over outgoing prime minister and ANO leader Andrej Babiš, who is facing criminal charges.
The ANO party has cancelled talks over possible cooperation in a new
government with the Social Democrats, according to Social Democrat party
chairman Milan Chovanec.
Chovanec said in a statement Thursday that he interpreted the move as an attempt to undercut the party’s demand that ANO leader Andrej Babiš should not be prime minister due to the fact he is facing criminal charges over alleged EU subsidy fraud.
He suggested it also indicated that ANO preferred to a deal with the communists or the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party (SPO).
Babiš responded saying that ANO is waiting for the outcome of the mid-February meeting of the Social Democrats where a new leadership should be chosen.