FORMER Czech prime minister Miloz Zeman yesterday won the country's presidential election, decided for the first time by popular vote.

The 68-year-old, who was Social Democrat prime minister between 1998-2002, won 55% of votes in the second poll to beat Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg

Czech presidents wield little day-to-day power but represent the country abroad and appoint prime ministers, central bankers and judges. Since Czechoslovakia's break-up 20 years ago, the president has been chosen by parliament.

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■czech republic