Drahos Won’t Rule out 2023 Presidential Bid

Prague, Feb 10 (CTK) – Jiri Drahos, who unsuccessfully challenged Czech President Milos Zeman in the runoff election two weeks ago, does not expect to run for president if the election is held in five years, but he would be considering running if it is held sooner, he told in an interview with CTK.


“I do not rule it (my presidential bid in 2023) out, but frankly speaking it does not seem probable to me,” said the 68-year-old chemist who headed the Czech Academy of Sciences in 2009-2017.


The direct presidential election is held once in five years in the Czech Republic. However, some observers said Zeman need not be able to serve his whole mandate due to his health problems.


Drahos said he is analysing the election result with his team.


He rejected the view that Zeman won the election because of the TV duels broadcast in the last few days before the runoff.


Drahos said a dirty e-mail campaign with blows under the belt targeting especially senior citizens from small towns and villages seemed to have harmed him the most. He said some of the texts that denigrated him seem to be created by professionals.


He said Zeman gained supporters by falsely claiming that Drahos would invite immigrants to the country. He said an atmosphere of fear was developed by some Czech politicians before both the presidential election and the general election held last autumn.


Drahos said he is considering running for senator in the autumn election, same as other failed presidential candidates who became rather popular, young activist doctor Marek Hilser and former diplomat Pavel Fischer.


Drahos said he would like to run as an unaffiliated candidate supported by several parties.


He talked to the parties that backed him before the presidential election, he said, naming the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), the Mayors and Independents (STAN) and TOP 09. “I am trying to talk with other parties as well,” he added.


He said he is also pondering a broader project based on the topics that seemed crucial to him in the campaign before the presidential election. He dismissed the media speculation that he planned to found a new political party.