Czech Republic's President Milos Zeman holds a speech during a Parliament session in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. Czech Republic's Parliament gathered for a confidence vote for a newly appointed government led by Prime Minister Andrej Babis. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Zeman favorite to win 2nd term in Czech presidential vote

January 11, 2018 - 5:58 am

PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech Republic's controversy-courting president is seeking re-election this month in what will be the country's second election in which voters, instead of lawmakers, pick the person to fill the office.

Milos Zeman was elected to the largely ceremonial post in 2013 during the country's first direct presidential vote, a victory that returned the former left-leaning prime minister to power. In office, he's become known for strong anti-migrant rhetoric that united him with the populist right, and he has divided the nation with his pro-Russian stance and support for closer ties with China.

He was one of the few European leaders to endorse Donald Trump's bid for the White House.

Zeman, 73, is a favorite to win the election's first round vote on Friday and Saturday.

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