Either former PM Milos Zeman or the present Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg will be the next Czech president as they emerged the strongest of all nine candidates from the first election round today, CTK found out based on the election data released by the Statistical Office.
The count of votes has been completed in more than 90 percent of election wards so far. It is clear that no one else but Zeman (Citizens´ Rights Party, SPOZ) and Schwarzenberg (junior ruling TOP 09 chairman) can finish in the first two positions from which the candidates advance to the second round due on January 25-26.
Jan Fischer (unaffiliated), former caretaker cabinet head whom pre-election public opinion polls presented as the hot favourite, did not succeed in the first round.
The other unsuccessful candidates are senator Jiri Dienstbier, fielded by the senior opposition Social Democrats (CSSD), composer and artist Vladimir Franz, Christian Democrat MEP Zuzana Roithova, actress Tana Fischerova, Senate deputy chairman Premysl Sobotka, fielded by senior ruling Civic Democrats, ODS) and Sovereignty party chairwoman Jana Bobosikova.
The turnout in the first round of the first ever Czech direct presidential election was some 60 percent, after the vote count in more than 90 percent of wards.