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Czechs elect president; anti-migrant incumbent favorite

FILE- In this file picture taken on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, Czech Republic's President Milos Zeman, makes a speech during a Parliament session in Prague, Czech Republic. The Czech Republic holds a first round of presidential elections on Jan. 12-13th, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

PRAGUE — The Czechs are electing a new president with eight candidates hoping to unseat the current controversy-courting leader.

The 73-year-old Milos Zeman who is seeking re-election is a favorite to win the election's first round vote on yesterday and Saturday.

The former president of the Academy of Sciences, Jiri Drahos, and popular song writer Michal Horacek are considered major challengers.

If no candidate achieves a majority, the top two will face each other in a runoff.

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. He has also divided the nation with his pro-Russian stance and support for closer ties with China.

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