In June this year, the Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas resigned after it was revealed that members of his staff were involved in a possible corruption affair. He was supposed to be replaced by a new representative of the conservative coalition government and everything would continue smoothly. This would most likely have been the case, had Czechs not elected Milos Zeman as President. The former socialist premier used the limitations of the Czech constitution to his advantage and has appointed an interim government instead. Even though this government has been repealed by the parliament, the former coalition deputies were unable to form a new government and thus the Czech Republic moves to early elections at the end of October. During the 2010 parliamentary election the front-runners to lead the country were the Social Democrats (CSSD). Surprisingly, the results meant a second chance was given to the strongest centre-right party : the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), whose platform featured commitments to form a government that preached austerity; to reform key laws and finally spearhead a crackdown on corruption.
Karel Schwarzenberg, a bow-tied 75- year-old prince whose estate includes castles and forests, is channeling the Sex Pistols in a bid to be Czech president. Schwarzenberg has emerged as the surprise challenger to ex- Premier Milos Zeman in the nation’s first direct election for president. Campaign images created by artist David Cerny, portraying the prince in a mohawk hairstyle fashioned after the U.K. punk band and screaming “Karel is Not Dead,” are appealing to voters generations younger than the candidate.
Czech Republic: Ex-prime minister, foreign minister advance to presidential runoff | The Washington Post
A former leftist prime minister and the Czech Republic’s conservative foreign minister will face each other in a presidential runoff later this month after finishing Saturday as the top two candidates in the ballot’s first round. Ex-Premier Milos Zeman and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg will compete in the second round of voting for the largely ceremonial post on Jan. 25-26. Czechs are electing the country’s president in a direct popular vote for the first time, to replace euroskeptic President Vaclav Klaus, whose second and final term ends March 7. Since Czechoslovakia officially split into Slovakia and the Czech Republic in 1993, the republic has had two presidents elected by Parliament: Vaclav Havel and Klaus. But bickering during those votes led the legislature to give that decision to the general public.
An exotic-looking opera composer and painter who was compared to ‘an exotic creature from Papua New Guinea’, is holding a surprise third position in opinion polls ahead of Czech Republic’s first-ever direct presidential election this week. It’s no surprise that Vladimir Franz, a 53-year-old professor at Prague’s Academy of Performing Arts, received such a vivid description by a debate caller. He is hard to miss in a crowd, with his entire face covered in swirls of red, green and blue. Admitting to having no experience in either politics or economics, he still ran a successful campaign for the semi-ceremonial position of president of the Czech Republic.
Czechs vote Friday and Saturday in their country’s first direct presidential election, with recession, austerity and graft weighing heavily on the nation as it turns the page on a decade under ardent eurosceptic Vaclav Klaus. Two ex-prime ministers, both former Communists, are tipped to finish atop a list of nine first-round candidates — including one with a fully tattooed face — and enter a second round slated for January 25-26. Although polls suggest outspoken leftist Milos Zeman is the strongest candidate to take the presidency of the European Union state of 10.5 million people, he is unlikely to score the simple majority needed to clinch a first-round victory, and will likely face mild-mannered centre-rightist Jan Fischer in the second round.
The Czech Constitutional Court ruled that the country’s first direct presidential elections may take place next week after reviewing a complaint filed by a candidate excluded from the vote. The court, based in Brno, the Czech Republic’s second- largest city, said today that the first round of elections may be held Jan. 11-12 as planned, spokeswoman Jana Pelcova said by phone today. The court earlier reviewed a complaint from Tomio Okamura, who was excluded from the vote.
Czechs will hold their first presidential election on January 11 and 12 to replace outgoing euroskeptic leader Vaclav Klaus, the speaker of the upper house of parliament said on Monday. Up to now, the country’s parliament has chosen the president. But the assembly agreed to hand that power over to the electorate amid calls for more open democracy, fuelled by a growing public perception of cronyism and corruption in the country’s political parties.