Czech Republic Presidential 2013 Preview

Jan. 11, 2013, midnight

Voters in the Czech Republic will head to the polls to elect a new President on January 11 and 12, 2013. Candidates will participate in the election to replace current term-limited President Václav KLAUS. Under the new election law signed on August 1, 2012, voters in the Czech Republic will now be able to directly elect their President in a two-round system. Therefore, the winner of this election will be the first President of the Czech Republic to be directly elected since the Velvet Revolution.

Nine candidates are on the ballot for the election, having secured the required 50,000 signatures or support of 20 Deputies or 10 Senators. Opinion polling shows that a close race is likely to occur between two former Prime Ministers of the Czech Republic, independent candidate Jan FISCHER, and Miloš ZEMAN from the Party of Civic Rights (SPOZ). If no candidate accrues 50 percent plus one vote in the first round, a run-off election will be held on January 25 and 26, 2013. Although the President of the Czech Republic is largely a ceremonial position, the winner of the 2013 election will play an important role in shaping the future of the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic, with eight vacancies arising over the next five years.

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