Failed Candidates Support Drahos over Zeman in Runoff

Prague, Jan 13 (CTK) – Most of the unsuccessful Czech presidential candidates support former Sciences Academy head Jiri Drahos in the runoff vote to be held in two weeks, while only Petr Hannig prefers incumbent President Milos Zeman, they told CTK after the first election round today.


Zeman, who gained 38.6 percent of the vote, advanced to the second round with Drahos (26.6 percent).


Former diplomat Pavel Fischer won over 10 percent, lyricist and entrepreneur Michal Horacek more than 9 percent, physician Marek Hilser under 9 percent and former prime minister Mirek Topolanek over 4 percent. The remaining three candidates gained marginal support: defence industry official Jiri Hynek over 1 percent, while Skoda auto former board head Vratislav Kulhanek and musician and producer Hannig about 0.5 percent.


Horacek and Hilser said after the preliminary results were released that they would support Drahos in the runoff vote.


They both arrived in Drahos’s election centre and offered help in the campaign before the second round to him and his staff. Drahos thanked them for support.


On the contrary, Hannig, running for the Reasonable marginal party, recommended his voters to vote for Zeman. He said Zeman’s stances stood close to his own political opinion.


Hilser welcomed Drahos’s success.


Horacek said Drahos had excellent election results and excellent pre-conditions. “We all must support you, we who want to stay in the West, in a decent society,” Horacek said.


The candidates also thanked one another for their fair competition.


If Drahos were interested in it, it would be good if the other candidates supported him by their personal presence, Horacek said.


He added he did not consider the campaign terminated and that he intended to continue it.


Horacek and Hilser agreed with Drahos that a different president was needed at Prague Castle, the presidential office.


Fischer, who called his own election gain of over 10 percent phenomenal, also expressed support for Drahos. He said Drahos promised to focus on the issues, which he also considered significant, such as European cooperation and security.


“I will vote for Jiri Drahos and call also on those who have supported me to consider doing the same,” Fischer said.


While Fischer personally congratulated Drahos on his success, he did not congratulate Zeman.


Topolanek accepted his defeat and called on his voters to support Drahos in the second election round since he would have a chance to defeat Zeman.


“Drahos will be a good choice for the Czech Republic. If we join forces, he will not be without a chance to win in the second round,” Topolanek told reporters at a press conference.


Kulhanek, who ended last in the presidential race, also said he would support Drahos now. Anything else but support for Drahos in runoff vote is out of question, Kulhanek said.


Kulhanek was disappointed at his poor election result, saying his positive approach to the euro adoption may have harmed him.


Only Defence and Security Industry Association President Hynek, founder of the Realists extra-parliamentary party, did not clearly say whom he would vote for in the second round. He said he would announce his preferences a day before the runoff.


Besides, leaders of some parties in parliament expressed support for Drahos, such as re-elected Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman Petr Fiala, TOP 09 head Jiri Pospisil and Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) deputy chairman Marian Jurecka.