Monday, 20 November 2017

Zeman's re-election depends on his govt-formation steps

ČTK |
21 August 2017

Prague, Aug 18 (CTK) - Czech President Milos Zeman's success or failure in the early 2018 presidential election, in which he will be running again, may depend on the steps he will take during the birth of the next government that will emerge from an October general election, Lukas Jelinek writes in Pravo on Friday.

Will Zeman, 72, again sparkle with sympathies/antipathies? And may he try to join the power struggle more than a president is expected to do? Jelinek writes.

He writes that not even his rival candidates may get a bad deal since it is quite possible that the post-election turbulences will spill over deep into 2018.

Jelinek writes that the presidential candidates do not leave anything to chance even during the summer holiday and each of the strong threesome, Zeman, Michal Horacek and Jiri Drahos, has attempted to catch voters' attention recently.

Zeman's fellow citizens know that he has lost weight, stabilised his diabetes and is in a very good health condition, and that he has collected 50,000 signatures needed for the presidential nomination, according to information from his spokesman and his wife, Jelinek writes.

Zeman himself is resting now and he does not even comment on current political events, such as the investigation into the suspected Capi hnizdo (Stork Nest) subsidy fraud of his ally Andrej Babis, chairman of the government ANO movement, or a dispute for the minimum wage, Jelinek writes.

Horacek, 65, lyricist and former successful businessman, was the first presidential candidate to collect the necessary signatures, Jelinek writes.

He writes that even though neither he and nor his team are resting, he avoids making any spicy comments on political developments.

Horacek's promise to give his possible presidential pay to seniors in need is a typical one made by a president elected by citizens whose powers are smaller rather than bigger, Jelinek writes.

It has seemed for some time that Horacek is copying Zeman's "close to people" style, but he accentuates decency and political moderation where the incumbent head of state is failing, Jelinek writes.

Drahos, 68, former Science Academy chairman, is lacking about 10,000 signatures, but he still has time, Jelinek writes.

He writes that Drahos is visiting regions and meeting people. Recently in Mlada Boleslav, central Bohemia, he spoke about national pride and about that the president must respect the constitution.

He was hinting at Zeman's attempts to circumvent it in several cases.

Drahos mentioned former German president Joachim Gauck, who was capable of moderating politicians by his informal authority, as his example, Jelinek writes.

He writes that Drahos supports an integrated Europe and solid relations with Russia and China.

Drahos said he would not overlook other interesting territories, such as South America, either, Jelinek adds.

The candidates do not want to start a dispute with political parties and clear-cut groups of voters for the time being at least, and that is why they weigh their words, Jelinek writes.

What looked like a competition of lightweights at the beginning may eventually culminate in a balanced joust of three robust personalities, Jelinek writes.

It is little probable that someone else would still join the fight. Those who have said they would also like to, find it difficult to gather the necessary signatures, Jelinek writes.

He writes that the candidates can still be joined by those relying on support of lawmakers, such as Senate deputy chairman Jaroslav Kubera (rightist opposition Civic Democrats, ODS).

The government Social Democrats (CSSD) and ANO will not probably offer voters any surprise before the October 20-21 general election votes are counted, Jelinek writes.

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