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CZECHIA: Incumbent President still ahead in polls

As the new government will be forming, the Czech Republic will go to another vote: the presidential elections held on January 12-13, 2018, with a runoff to be held on January 26-27 if required. The incumbent President Milos Zeman is still the leading candidate having around 28% of support. The former head of the Academy of Science Jiri Drahos and businessman and lyricist Michal Horacek remain behind Zeman with an estimated 13% of support, leaving more than 40% of undecided voters. Other candidates have marginal support or they have not announced their candidacy yet, including Vice-President of the Senate Jaroslav Kubera (Civil Democrats – ODS) or MEP and former Minister of Justice Jiri Pospisil (TOP09). However, another survey showed that Drahos would have higher chances to beat Zeman in the second round making him the black horse of the election. This is mostly due to Zeman’s provoking, anti-EU and pro-Russian views and his controversial spokesman Jiri Ovcacek. Last week, Ovcacek posted a highly provocative tweet linking the EU to Nazi Germany over the food safety regulations concerning a specific Czech product. Many political parties (ODS, TOP09, Christian Democrats) declined supporting President Zeman in the upcoming elections that will be decided by a direct popular vote, for the second time in Czech history. Social Democrats (CSSD) strongly hesitate to support Zeman, whereas ANO Movement might, by the end of the day, support Milos Zeman due to closer ties to ANO’s leader Andrej Babis than to the current leadership of the Social Democratic Party.