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January 13, 2018 10:00 am | FILED UNDER: politics

Communists and Populists Vote Zeman

By ČTK Czech President Milos Zeman

Prague, Ceske Budejovice, South Bohemia, Jan 12 (CTK) – Czech Communist (KSCM) leader Vojtech Filip and Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) chairman Tomio Okamura supported incumbent President Milos Zeman in the presidential election today, they have told journalists.

 

Filip said Zeman suited most the Communists’ conditions.

 

Okamura said the current head of state most corresponded with the requirements for president the SPD had formulated at its national conference in early December.

 

On Thursday, the SPD called on its voters to vote for Zeman.

 

Okamura said Zeman was an irreconcilable fighter against international terrorism.

 

Zeman visited the conference of the anti-EU and anti-Islam SPD personally in December.

 

When casting his vote, former president Vaclav Klaus said the new head of state should be a man had not fallen from the skies, but who had political experience.

 

Out of the nine candidates, this conditions is fulfilled by Zeman and former prime minister Mirek Topolanek.

 

Klaus declined to disclose whom he voted for.

 

Petr Fiala, leader of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), called on everyone who did not want Zeman to continue as president to take part in the election and not let themselves be surprised in the first round already.

 

The ODS did not field its own candidate for the election that started today and whose first round will continue on Saturday.

 

Topolanek is a former leader of the ODS, but he left the party.

 

“Our political aim is clear. Zeman should not continue after this vote,” Fiala said.

 

An ideal president should respect the constitution, cement society and represent the Czech Republic both at home and abroad, Fiala said.

 

The presidential election is important as it provides an opportunity to harm the power pact between Zeman and Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO), he added.

 

“This is why the post should be held by someone respecting the spirit of the constitution and the rules of parliamentary democracy and one who does not question our foreign political orientation,” Fiala said, alluding to Zeman’s warm relations with Russia and China.

 

Topolanek said he wanted the voter turnout to be as high as possible.

 

His wife Lucie Talmanova, a former senior ODS official, said the election campaign had been affected by the absence of Zeman, which was cowardice on his part.

 

Former Czech Science Academy chairman Jiri Drahos, who was second in the latest polls, said he expected to advance to the second round along with Zeman.

 

Drahos told journalists he expected the turnout over 65 percent, adding that a low turnout would help Zeman.

 

Another candidate, former ambassador to France Pavel Fischer, said he “felt ready to render the difficult service in the post of president,” when casting his vote.

 

Support for Fischer was expressed by a number of personalities such as former dissident and Czech prime minister Petr Pithart, pop singer David Koller, former Slovak dissident and sociologist Fedor Gal, former dissident and Bishop Vaclav Maly and presidential candidate from 2013 Karel Schwarzenberg.

 

Doctor and activists Marek Hilser, the youngest presidential candidate aged 41, said it would be a big success if he received 15 percent of the vote.

 

Acting Social Democrat (CSSD) Milan Chovanec said he had voted for Zeman.

 

“He is a man helping the Czech industry abroad, a man speaking with the public, a man with interest in the Czech Republic,” Chovanec said.

 

The nation needs calm and a fatherly approach, he added.

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