Daniel Riolo lights up Messi and Neymar after PSG win over Angers

Daniel Riolo lights up Messi and Neymar after PSG win over Angers

AFP

The Czechs choose their president in a tight ballot

A billionaire, a general and an academic are the favorites in the first round of the Czech presidential election which begins Friday and ends on Saturday and which observers consider very close. The winner will replace at the head of the country Milos Zeman, a veteran politician known for his outspokenness and his taste for alcohol, whose last term ends in March. The winner will have to face record inflation and exorbitant deficits in public finances due to the war in Ukraine, while the Czech Republic has just completed its rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. If no candidate obtains more than 50% of the votes in the first round, a second round will oppose the two who will have come out on top. “If you asked me to bet (on the result), I wouldn’t do it,” Petr Just, an analyst at the Metropolitan University of Prague, told AFP. populist minister Andrej Babis, the general to retired Petr Pavel and university professor Danuse Nerudova are in the running to become the fourth president of the Czech Republic since its creation in 1993 after splitting with Slovakia. Business tycoon and former prime minister Mr Babis, 68 years, is the fifth richest person in the Czech Republic, according to Forbes magazine.- Six glasses of wine, three shots – Elite paratrooper, Mr. Pavel, 61, rose to prominence for freeing French troops besieged by Serbs during the war in Bosnia in 1993. After the Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999, Mr. Pavel spent three years in the Alliance’s regional command in the Netherlands, before becoming chief of staff of the Czech army, then head of the NATO military command. Ms. Nerudova, the youngest of the favorites at 44, is a former academic.Economist, she puts the emphasis on social issues and relies heavily on the support of j young voters. Polls indicate that both Mr. Pavel and Ms. Nerudova would beat Mr. Babis if they face him in the second round. a university graduate and an entrepreneur– are lagging behind in the polls. The role of the Czech president is essentially ceremonial, but the head of state appoints the government, chooses the governor of the central bank as well as the judges of the Constitutional Court and is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.Incumbent President Mr. Zeman, a controversial politician and hard drinker who once confessed to drinking six glasses of wine and three of hard liquor daily, exerted a greater influence on the Czech political life than its predecessors. Polling stations open for the first round at 2 p.m. Friday (1 p.m. GMT) and close at 10 p.m., then reopen at 8 a.m. Saturday until 2 p.m. The results are expected on Saturday evening.frj/amj/bo/lch