Battle for Czech presidency heats up ahead of second round

When Miloš Zeman declared to the media that his presidential runoff against Karel Schwarzenberg was a choice “between a candidate from the left and one from the right,” it set the tone for a critical final period of campaigning ahead of the Jan. 25-26 vote to determine who will succeed outgoing President Václav Klaus.

Schwarzenberg. Photo: Pastorius

Although the two men promised not to engage in the mudslinging that often plays out in such scenarios, there have been sharp attacks from both sides. Zeman has sought to blame Schwarzenberg, the foreign affairs minister, for the conservative government’s unpopular tax hikes and pension reform, as well as accusing him of blurring his responsibility for a controversial prison amnesty declared by Klaus at the start of the year.

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