PRAGUE, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- The first ever direct presidential election in the Czech Republic started on Friday afternoon.
All nine candidates running for Czech president met in a debate on state broadcaster Czech Television on Thursday evening.
Milos Zeman, former Social Democrat (CSSD) prime minister now running for the Citizens' Rights Party (SPOZ), is considered an election favorite.
During the debate, all candidates agreed they would prefer introducing the Austrian model in which a presidential candidate needs 6,000 verified signatures to register for elections.
Another favourite expected to advance to the second round of elections is former interim prime minister Jan Fischer (unaffiliated).