Former PM Zeman to take helm of Czech Republic
AFP and ReutersPRAGUE -- Leftist former Premier Milos Zeman beat conservative rival Karel Schwarzenberg in the Czech Republic's first-ever direct presidential election Saturday to replace euroskeptic Vaclav Klaus, election results showed with 94 percent of voting districts counted.
January 27, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
The Czech Statistical Office said Zeman, 68, garnered 55.7-percent support against 44.3 percent for the 75-year-old aristocratic Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg.
Czech presidents do not wield much day-to-day power but represent the country abroad and appoint prime ministers, central bankers and judges.
Zeman served as Social Democrat prime minister in 1998-2002. He is credited with privatizing the main banks and attracting foreign investment during his premiership. Opponents criticize his friendship with former communist officials.