Czech Republic News & Current Events

First Popular Vote for President Is Held in 2013

 

On Jan. 11–12, 2013, the Czech Republic held its first ever direct popular vote for president. Of the nine candidates, no one secured a majority of the vote. Former prime minister Milos Zeman received 24.2% of the vote, with current Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg a close second with 23.4%. Voter turnout was over 61%.

A runoff between Zeman, from the Party of Citizen’s Rights, and Schwarzenberg, a member of the Traditional Responsibility Party, ended with Zeman victorious with 54.8% of the vote. President Zeman was sworn in on March 8, 2013.

In June 2013, Petr Necas resigned as the Czech Republic's prime minister following a scandal involving his chief of staff Jana Nagyova, who was charged with bribery and abuse of office. President Zeman appointed former finance minister Jiri Rusnok as the new prime minister.

After new prime minister Jiri Rusnok lost a confidence vote in parliament 93 to 100 on August 7, 2013, the country faced the dissolution of lower parliament and early elections in October. After months without a fully functioning government, Czech voters went to the polls on October 26, 2013, but results were less than definitive, leaving the country divided and without clear leadership. Bohuslav Sobotka and his party, the Czech Social Democrats (CSSD), came away with 20% of the vote, while millionaire media mogul Andrej Babis and his brand-new protest movement ANO came away with less than 19%.