Milos Zeman​ sworn in for second term as Czech president

The former communist, who became the Czech Republic's first directly elected president in 2013, was reelected in January with 51.4 percent of the vote.

Published: 08th March 2018 10:30 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th March 2018 10:30 PM   |  A+A-

Czech President Milos Zeman signs the presidential oath during the inauguration ceremony. (Photo | AP)

By AFP

PRAGUE: Czech President Milos Zeman on Thursday was sworn in for a second and final term at a Prague ceremony where the pro-Russian, pro-Chinese and anti-immigration leader used his speech to criticise journalists and rivals.

The former communist, who became the Czech Republic's first directly elected president in 2013, was reelected in January with 51.4 percent of the vote, edging out his liberal challenger Jiri Drahos who scored 48.6 percent. 

In his speech at Prague Castle, Zeman went after several media outlets owned by controversial businessman Zdenek Bakala, accusing them of "trying to manipulate public opinion". 

He also criticised political rivals, including the conservative pro-European TOP 09 party, whose leaders including chairman Jiri Pospisil left in protest.

"It's sad that Milos Zeman can't stop himself from attacking those with different viewpoints," the European Parliament member said on Twitter. 

Zeman won a second five-year term thanks to support from rural and leftist voters. Fear of migrants and a rejection of EU migrant quotas also played a key role.

The 73-year-old -- who walks with a cane, is diabetic and is known as a former heavy drinker and smoker -- had to be physically supported during the ceremony. 

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