Thursday, 24 April 2014

Poll: Next president should mainly defend national interests

ČTK |
18 December 2012

Prague, Dec 17 (CTK) - The president whom Czechs are to choose in the first direct election in January should mainly protect national interests, be a strong personality and moral authority, 84 percent of the questioned said in an NMS Market Research poll, released to CTK yesterday.

The polled said Jan Fischer, former caretaker prime minister, would best protect national interests while former Social Democrat (CSSD) prime minister Milos Zeman is the strongest personality of all presidential candidates.

Nine candidates are running in the election. Another two whom the Supreme Administrative Court eliminated from the election because they did not collect the required 50,000 valid signatures will yesterday announce further legal steps they may take.

Fischer and Zeman are the biggest favourites of advancing to the second round of the election, scheduled for January 25-26.

Fischer scores more with women and people under 64, while Zeman is rather supported by men and seniors.

The poll showed that people consider Fischer the most representative and best accepted abroad of all candidates.

"Fischer markedly profits from the positive image of chairman of the 2009-10 caretaker government that enjoyed a very high trust among voters thanks to its proclaimed apolitical character," the agency said.

However, this may also be a cause of Fischer's low political profile.

People often perceive him as a candidate of whom they know nothing, who is no personality, or who does not have his own opinion, the agency said.

Zeman is assessed as a strong personality and candidate who would be a source of fun, but people consider this criterion the least important in a presidential candidate, the poll found.

"Zeman is perceived as a personality with strong opinions that are, however, often at variance with dignity and the representative post of president," NMS Market Research said.

More than a quarter of people would not vote for Zeman because "he would bring shame on us" and a number of voters also criticise his image of an alcoholic and his populism, the agency said.

Even more people, 29 percent, believe that current Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg (TOP 09) would also bring shame on the country.

Almost one quarter of the polled say it is a minus that he is not "a genuine Czech."

Schwarzenberg comes from the Czech Schwarzenberg noble family and has Czech and Swiss citizenship. He emigrated with his parents to Austria after the communist seized power in then Czechoslovakia in 1948. He returned after the communist regime collapsed in end-1989.

On the other hand, voters say Schwarzenberg knows foreign politics best of all candidates.

Fischer would now win among voters of the senior government Civic Democrats (ODS), the opposition CSSD and Communists (KSCM) as well as TOP 09, but Zeman strongly threatens his position among CSSD and KSCM voters.

The candidates who were fielded by political parties would not succeed in the election among their parties' voters, which is true of Jiri Dienstbier (CSSD), Schwarzenberg and Premysl Sobotka (ODS).

The most popular with young voters are Schwarzenberg and artist and composer Vladimir Franz.

The former is supported mainly by young university graduates, Franz is rather preferred by students and graduates of secondary and vocational schools.

NMS Market Research conducted the poll on 1018 people.

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