Will Slovaks walk over Chuck Norris to Austria?

BRATISLAVA Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:46pm EST

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BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - Slovaks have been voting overwhelmingly in favor of naming a new pedestrian and cycling bridge near their capital for 1980s action film and TV star Chuck Norris.

The two other top names in the running for the bridge, which will span the Morava river and cross the border to Austria, were Maria Theresa after an Austro-Hungarian empress and the Devinska cycling bridge in honour of the closest village.

Norris, a martial arts expert-turned film star, is known for playing tough guy characters in such classic movies as "Lone Wolf McQuade," "Missing in Action" and "The Delta Force."

The actor's work has become a popular source of kitschy fun among Slovaks and a mainstay for local jokes about macho strength and invincibility.

The final decision will be up to a regional assembly. But regional Governor Pavol Freso has said it would follow the wishes of the people in the Internet ballot where Norris leads as the top choice for the bridge's name.

"The same way as we have so far been building it in full sight of the public, we will seek that the name is accepted by the public as well," he said.

The voting will run until April. As of Thursday, 1,157 votes have backed Norris, 74 percent of the total, leaving the runner up 'Maria Theresa Bridge' far behind with 8 percent.

(Reporting by Martin Santa, editing by Paul Casciato)

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