Fear and Loathing in Prague – Milos Zeman’s Re-election ‘Campaign’ČTK
Prague, (CTK) – The candidacy of the the incumbent Czech President Milos Zeman is the candidacy of fear as he is afraid of debates with other candidates and spends the pre-election time hidden in his own mausoleum, Petr Honzejk writes in daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) today.
He comments on the behaviour of Zeman, 73, who is defending his post in the direct presidential election the first round of which is due on January 12-13. Another eight men are running for head of state along with him.
Honzejk writes that a standard democratic election is preceded by a standard campaign. Unfortunately, no such campaign is underway before the presidential election in the Czech Republic for which Zeman is clearly to blame.
Such a campaign includes mutual confrontations of the candidates since voters have the right to know how the candidates react to various impulses and situations, see their current mental and physical condition and compare them one with another.
The actual qualities of the candidates can be revealed only in a direct confrontation in live debates. However, Zeman refuses to take part in them and he thereby prevents voters from a qualified decision-making, Honzejk points out.
Zeman’s advantage is that he can avoid a comparison test before the election. It is true that there is no explicit rule saying an election candidate must take part in pre-election debates, so Zeman is formally not violating anything except for unwritten rules, Honzejk says.
He adds that it is not written either that a candidate must be alive. Consequently, in the case of a quite creative interpretation of the law, the contents of a mausoleum might run in elections.
If the current president shuns debates, not live candidate Zeman, but a sort of a mausoleum of his takes part in the election – an exhibition whose curator is he alone. It naturally does not display anything that Zeman dislikes or that his voters might dislike eventually, Honzejk says.
If Zeman avoids a hard opposition and confrontation and he can also hope that the affairs of which he cannot be proud and that might harm him will gradually fade away, including his occasional drunkenness and vulgarity and outbursts of intolerance, Honzejk writes.
Zeman can be sure that the picture of him he is drawing himself will remain before the voters’ eyes and only the story about him he is telling himself will be heard, Honzejk says.
Zeman likes to compare himself with great statesmen, but his candidacy is that of fear and he is hiding in his mausoleum. He may accept invitations to the friendly territory of the media that fancy him only, Honzejk writes.
This is smart and some people may even admire this. However, only a person who has a reason to fear since he is aware of being just his own shadow can behave like this, Honzejk says.
The fact that Zeman claims he is not conducting any campaign, while the whole country is full of his billboards, makes this impression even stronger, Honzejk writes.
Zeman poses as a successor of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, the first Czechoslovak president in 1918-35, whose motto was “not to fear and not to steal,” yet he is scared. There is a motto on his presidential banner saying “the truth will win,” yet he has problems with the truth, Honzejk writes.
“This all is his own business. But the worse is that this year’s presidential battle does not take place according to standard rules, it is not an honest frontal clash. ‘The creative work with Czech democracy,’ continues,” Honzejk writes in conclusion.