Czech Republic holds its first presidential election to replace outgoing leader Václav Klaus after a 2012 constitutional amendment gave the electorate, rather than the country's parliament, the power to choose the next president.
Klaus' successor will thereby become the first directly elected president since the end of communism in former Czechoslovakia in 1989.
Among the leading candidates to replace euroskeptic Klaus are former prime ministers Milos Zeman and Jan Fischer, who are both much more inclined towards closer cooperation with the EU than their predecessor.
Even though the function of Czech President does not involve extensive executive powers, its holder wields significant influence over the cabinet and parliament through, for instance, the ability to appoint prime ministers.
In case none of the candidates wins an absolute majority in the first round, a run-off will follow on January 25-26.
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