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Czech President Milos Zeman will seek re-election

The first directly elected Czech president will seek re-election in 2018. Milos Zeman is one of the few European politicians who openly supported Donald Trump during the US presidential election.

Czech President Milos Zeman told a group of supporters Thursday that he would seek re-election in 2018.

At a gathering at Prague Castle, Zeman said: "I announce to you that I decided to run again for the office of president." Thursday was the fourth anniversary of his inauguration.

Zeman was due to hold a press conference Friday to officially announce his decision. Zeman is the first directly elected president in the Czech Republic, winning 54.8 percent of the second round vote in the 2013 election.

Divisive but popular

Many of Zeman's statements and stances throughout his political career have stirred controversy. His pro-Russia and anti-immigrant beliefs put him at odds with many of those living in major Czech cities, but he remains popular in the country, especially in small Czech towns and villages.

The 72-year-old also endorsed US President Donald Trump during Trump's successful campaign. Zeman is scheduled to travel to the White House in April.

Competition for the position

Businessman and writer Michal Horacek also announced his intention to run for president in November under the motto "We can do better."

The Czech presidency is not simply a ceremonial position. The president is able to determine the country's EU cabinet appointments, appoint the country's central bankers and nominate ambassadors and constitutional court judges.

kbd/se (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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