Matt Atlas

Mountfield Company Denies Ties to Zeman, Drahos Smear Campaign

Prague, (CTK) – The Mountfield company rejects being linked to the campaign in support of Milos Zeman’s re-election as Czech president, its spokeswoman Katerina Bohmova said today, reacting to media reports about an advertisement lashing out at Jiri Drahos, Zeman’s rival in the upcoming presidential runoff.

Mountfield, a retail chain selling garden equipment, does not interfere in politics, Bohmova said.

The media recently mentioned Miroslav Schon, who is a deputy head of the Mountfield board of directors and also director of the Euro-Agency firm, which, together with the Friends of Milos Zeman association backed by close aides of Zeman, has financed the above newspaper advertisement.

The advertisement presents Drahos as a supporter of migration.

In addition, billboards lashing out at Drahos have mushroomed in the streets of Czech towns.

“The Mountfield company distances itself from the campaign that supports Milos Zeman’s presidential candidacy at the cost of candidate Jiri Drahos,” Bohmova said.

She said the campaign has been initiated by the Friends of Milos Zeman association, the Euro-Agency company and Schon, in which Mountfield has no chance to interfere.

Drahos said on Thursday the advertisement is a part of a campaign he expected before the January 26-27 second round of the direct presidential election, to which he and Zeman advanced from the first round held on January 12-13.

He said he expects further dirty tricks to be played against him by Zeman’s aides.

Drahos published his own advertisement in the Denik daily today, in which he calls on voters to opt for a change and choose [him as] a president to represent them dignifiedly.

In response to the pro-Zeman advertisement, which says “Stop immigrants and Drahos. This Country Belongs to Us!”, Drahos’s advertisement says “This country belongs to the Czech citizens!” and adds that Drahos is opposed to EU migrant quotas.

At a meeting with voters in south Bohemia today, Drahos said if his rival candidate had not been Zeman, he would have asked him for a fair-play battle.

“It is clear that this would be of no use in the current situation,” he said in an allusion to Zeman’s controversial aides.

He said he would like to tell Zeman’s chief of office Vratislav Mynar, adviser Martin Nejedly and spokesman Jiri Ovcacek that “this country fortunately does not belong to them.”

Drahos said he relies on most people having common sense and being able to distinguish nonsense and gabble.

“I would not sink to that level. I would not sink to the level of the flood of lies and defamations I am faced with,” Drahos said.