Nearly Half of Czechs Polled Unhappy with Election Result

Prague, (CTK) – Most Czechs are satisfied with the result of the presidential election, in which President Milos Zeman defended his post, which shows that the society is not split in half as it seemed after the weekend runoff, according to a Median poll released in daily Lidove noviny (LN) today.


A total of 54.2 percent of Czechs are satisfied with the January election result, while 37.5 percent are not.


The poll, conducted exclusively for LN, shows that Zeman is acceptable even to a part of voters of his rival, academic Jiri Drahos, and he suits a big part of those who did not go to the election at all.


Out of the people who did not vote in the second round, 44.9 percent preferred Zeman and only 9.5 percent Drahos.


“Both candidates were acceptable to many people of whose a major part decided to vote for Milos Zeman. It is no true that there are two irreconcilable camps in society… Politicians are using the illusion of the polarisation of society as a tool to mobilise voters against their rival,” sociologist and Median director Daniel Prokop told LN.


During the last week before the runoff vote, Zeman succeeded in attracting even the most passive group of Czechs, young people with elementary education, and the undecided voters, mainly among the unemployed with low income, also because he highlighted the issues people were interested in, though they were not connected with the presidential post, LN writes.


“During the week, the liking to Zeman increased among the people who are against the church restitutions(return of and compensation for the property of churches confiscated by the communist regime) and the ban on smoking, they mistrust media and are suspicious of minorities,” Prokop said.


These issues helped stir up emotions during the campaign among the people who do not care for the actual presidential powers and hard political topics, such as foreign policy, legal system and education, Prokop added.


The candidates’ performance in TV debates played an important role in the decision-making of hesitating voters. Zeman was more persuasive in them than Drahos, LN writes.


Besides, the candidates’s approach to PM in resignation and ANO chairman Andrej Babis could influence voters. While Drahos said he would not like to appoint a prosecuted person as PM, Zeman repeatedly stressed he would appoint Babis as the winner of the general election again. Babis is prosecuted on suspicion of an EU subsidy fraud.


Prokop points out that the hard core of Zeman’s voters were the elderly aged 60-69 who are also the strongest voter group of ANO.


People did not go to the election runoff mostly because they liked neither of the two candidates, the poll shows.


The Median poll was unique as the pollsters were asking the same group of people in different times. Consequently, the data better reflect how and why Czechs’ attitudes to the presidential election changed, LN writes.