Prague, (CTK) – The majority of parties represented in the Czech Chamber of Deputies prefer former Academy of Sciences head Jiri Drahos to current President Milos Zeman, his contestant in the second round of the presidential election scheduled for January 26-27.
Drahos has been backed by the Civic Democrats (ODS), Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), TOP 09 and Mayors and Independents (STAN) and he won in a survey among the Pirates’ members.
In the non-binding internal survey among the Pirates, in which over 230 of the total of more than 500 members voted, 88 percent voted for Drahos, while 6 percent voted for Zeman. Four percent of the Pirates do not want to take part in the vote and 1 percent plans to turn in an invalid ballot paper. Pirates chairman Ivan Bartos announced he would support Drahos.
Zeman, on the other hand, has been clearly supported by the Freedom and Direct Democracy(SPD) and Communists (KSCM).
PM Andrej Babis also voiced his personal support for Zeman, but part of Babis’s ANO supports Drahos.
Social Democrats (CSSD), too, are divided on their choice of a presidential candidate in the vote, as some of its current and former leaders and regions’ governors support Zeman, while other governors and former PM Bohuslav Sobotka support Drahos.
The ODS was signalling already before the election’s first round it opposes Zeman continuing in the post, but it did not support a particular candidate. After the vote, ODS chairman Petr Fiala congratulated Drahos and expressed his belief that voters in the runoff “will terminate this not too happy period”.
TOP 09 was not unified before the first round on supporting a single candidate, as its representatives favoured either Drahos or former ambassador to France Pavel Fischer. Lately, the party’s chairman Jiri Pospisil called on members to join forces in support for Drahos.
The KDU-CSL and STAN expressed their support for Drahos already before the first round and reiterated their support immediately after it.
The SPD and KSCM reiterated their support for Zeman after the first round, arguing that he was a better advocate of the Czech national interests.
Babis also voiced his support of Zeman again after the vote, but noted it was not ANO’s official stance. He also recommended Zeman that he declared clearly he was not leading a pro-Eastern policy and that he got rid of controversial Presidential Office head Vratislav Mynar and his aide Martin Nejedly.