Zeman and Drahos Prepare to Face Off in Debates

Prague, (CTK) – Incumbent President Milos Zeman may trust his capabilities in the forthcoming televised presidential debates with his contender, former Czech Academy of Sciences chairman Jiri Drahos, political marketing expert Karel Kominek told journalists today.


The second round of the presidential election is held on January 26-27.


Before it, the commercial television station Prima and the public broadcaster Czech Television (CT) will hold two presidential debates on Tuesday and Thursday.


Zeman received almost 39 percent and Drahos almost 27 percent of the vote in the first round. However, support to Drahos was expressed by another four contenders, Michal Horacek, Marek Hilser, Mirek Topolanek and Vratislav Kulhanek.


Out of the candidates, only Petr Hannig, who finished last but one with 0.6 percent, has expressed support for Zeman.


Due to this, taken together, Drahos’s odds seem to be slightly higher.


The Presidential Office is trying to provoke the impression that Drahos is afraid of the duel with the current head of state, communications expert Martin Joachymstal said.


Compared with Zeman, Drahos is much less emotional and he must come up with his own strong topic, Joachymstal.


Both experts agree that the debates may reverse the result of the election to the benefit of either of the candidates.


So far, Zeman has avoided presidential debates, which was a good strategic move, Kominek said, speaking about the debates before the first round of the presidential vote with all the remaining contenders.


“By participating in them, Zeman can only lose, not win anything,” Kominek said.


The change of mind has two reasons.


“First, the result of the first round was far from dazzling. Second, the rumours about Zeman’s bad health started circulating,” he added.


“If he avoided the duels with Drahos even in these days, it would be a sign of wavering,” Joachymstal said.


The two experts agreed that Zeman was entering the debates as their favorite.


“Objectively, Zeman is a very experienced politician and excellent orator. He may trust his forces in the duel with Drahos, who is rather unexperienced and who made a number of mistakes in some interviews of minor importance,” Kominek said.


Drahos lacks emotional and aggressive rhetoric, which makes his initial position difficult, Kominek said.


Kominek said even a draw would be a success for Drahos.