Zeman secured 38.75 percent of ballots after 99.13 percent of votes were counted from the election held on Friday and Saturday, while Drahos garnered 26.51, the Czech Statistics Office said.
The second round of election is scheduled two weeks later on January 26-27.
Presidential elections kick off in the Czech Republic today, in a test for the polarising incumbent, Milos Zeman. Eight candidates are seeking to oust the incumbent Milos Zeman, whose inclination towards far-right groups and warm relations with Russian Federation and China has split public opinion. "Come to vote, come to vote, come to vote".
Otherwise, the president has little executive power since the country is run by a government chosen and led by the prime minister. Having shunned public debates so far, the 73-year-old has now agreed to a television duel with his rival, saying he hopes voters can make up their own minds. "They are not puppets that can be manipulated by endorsement from whoever", Zeman told reporters at his campaign headquarters.
A win by any of Zeman's main rivals could mean that voices from the Czech leadership may shift closer to the European Union mainstream, in contrast to ex-communist neighbours such as Poland and Hungary, whose governments have clashed with Brussels.
Tapped by Zeman for prime minister in December, Babis was forced to form a minority government which appears set to lose a parliamentary confidence vote on January 16.
He has won endorsements from some mainstream groups as well as the Communist Party and the main far-right anti-EU and anti-NATO SPD party.
The previous two presidents of the country created in 1993 when Czechoslovakia was split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Vaclav Havel and Vaclav Klaus, were elected by Parliament. To avoid a run-off, he needed to secure more than half the vote.
In addition to support for Russia, Zeman wants to improve Czech relations with China.
He has strong support mainly in the countryside of the nation of 10.6 million people, and often snipes at Prague elites and the media.
"The final is still ahead of us, and that's what matters", Drahos said.