Zeman’s Non-Campaign Expenses Exceed CZK 17 MillionČTK
Prague, (CTK) – President Milos Zeman’s election campaign has so far cost almost 17 million crowns, with most of the promotion having been paid by the small Party of Citizens’ Rights, the Milos Zeman Friends Association and the Euro-Agency group, Zeman has said on his election webpage.
The data were also released by other candidates.
Former Science Academy chairman Jiri Drahos has enumerated the financial and non-financial contributions at almost 37 million.
The candidates had to release the names of all the people and companies which have sponsored their campaigns by Monday midnight.
Zeman has said he is not leading any campaign.
However, a number of billboards and posters featuring him positively have appeared across the Czech Republic. In addition, he is promoted by newspaper adds.
Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said the election promotion had been used with Zeman’s knowledge.
The Czech Transparency International branch said on Monday due to the billboards and online promotion, Zeman’s campaign must have cost tens of million crowns.
It said the campaign was unclear as one cannot learn anything about Zeman’s sponsors.
The group Reconstruction of the State also criticised Zeman’s campaign.
“On the part of Zeman, there is a systematic circumvention of the law on the election of the president,” its analyst Magdalena Klimesova said.
Zeman’s sponsors are still hidden, Klimesova said.
There is still the suspicion that the Milos Zeman Friends Association has access to money from Russia, she added.
According to the information from the election web, most of the money, about 7.9 million crowns, was spent on outdoor promotion for Zeman. The administration of social networks, audio visual services, graphic services and the advertising was commissioned by the Milos Zeman Friends Association. The post of chairman of its board is held by the head of the Presidential Office, Vratislav Mynar.
Zeman received about 4.5 million crowns at his election account. He obtained two million crowns from the firm DAKO-CZ which makes part of the holding Czechoslovak Group, owned by arms dealer Jaroslav Strnad.
One million crowns was donated to Zeman by the firm Composite Components, owned by Petr Rusek.
A number of “gifts” worth a few hellers (1 Czech crown = 100 hellers) along with ironic messages from Zeman’s opponents were also sent to Zeman’s account.
Drahos said on his webpage that he had received financial gifts worth almost 34 million crowns.
Businessman and lyricist Michal Horacek covers the costs of his campaign himself. At the end of December, he enumerated them at 29.4 million crowns.
Former prime minister Mirek Topolanek has registered donations worth 9.4 million crowns.
Three of the nine candidates for president have not released an overview of the persons who have donated a gift to their campaign, Jan Outly from the Office for the Supervision of Sponsoring of Parties and Movements, said today.
Outly did not name them.
The failure to do so may be fined with up to 300,000 crowns.
Former ambassador to France Pavel Fischer failed to provide the information in time.
The manager of his campaign, Jiri Jirkovsky, said this was due to the “tremendous influx” of contributions the team was unable to process.
He said the team had primarily dealt with a detailed enumeration of volunteers’ work.
“We communicated with the office. We promised to deliver all the data today,” Jirkovsky said.
He added that the team had placed the data on the webpage earlier today.
Jirkovsky said the revenues were seven million crowns and expenditures 5.5 million.
The first round of the presidential election is set for January 12-13, the possible second round for January 26-27.
($1 = 21.324 crowns)