WARSAW, January 25 (RIA Novosti) - The Czech Republic begins on Friday the second and final round of the country’s first direct presidential vote that will last into Saturday.
The presidential runoff following the first round held on January 11-12 left Karel Schwarzenberg, the Czech foreign minister and a prince from an 800-year-old aristocratic family, facing former Prime Minister Milos Zeman.
A total of 14,900 polling stations, including over 100 abroad, will be open for Czech citizens on Friday between 14:00 and 22:00 GMT and on Saturday between 8:00 and 14:00 GMT.
The presidential office in the Czech Republic is vested with considerable authority. Since the country declared independence in 1993, the president was elected by the parliament, but rules were amended last year, paving the way for the first presidential elections in the country.
Schwarzenberg, 75, who spent the years of Communist rule in emigration, is known for his considerable wealth and has been proclaimed Czech Republic’s richest politician - which, he claimed, makes him immune to corruption.
On the other hand, Zeman, 68, who was Prime Minister from 1998 to 2002, is reputed to be the country’s poorest politician and considered to be incorruptible, though his Party of Civic Rights - Zemanovci admitted to ties to pro-Russian lobbyists.