Monday, 23 October 2017

LN: Presidential candidate Drahoš is man of compromise

ČTK |
27 July 2017

Prague, July 26 (CTK) - The recently issued book, in which Czech Academy of Sciences former head Jiri Drahos speaks about his life, clearly shows why the professor is considered a man of compromise and favourite of the direct presidential election, Petr Zidek writes in daily Lidove noviny (LN) today.

Drahos's opinions on nearly all public affairs seem consistent, they are well-considered and one can hardly imagine that they could offend anybody, Zidek writes six months before the presidential election.

Drahos, a researcher in chemical engineering, is able to explain his work in a simple manner so that even a small child can understand it. Though he is a specialist in a sphere combining technology and science, he has broad cultural interests: he sings in a choir, for example. When he talks about opera, it does not seem snobbish, and when he talks about The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, it does not look like he wants to capitalise on pop icons, Zidek writes.

Drahos only seldom criticises anybody in any way: defines himself by all that he likes, not by what he opposes, Zidek writes.

Moreover, Drahos can admit that he was mistaken. He says he could not understand the presidential candidacy of dissident Vaclav Havel in 1989, when the communist regime was falling apart, but he recognised soon that Havel was the best solution, Zidek writes.

According to Drahos, dividing politics into the left wing and the right wing is outdated and artificial. He says that he believes that life is very good at present, in spite of all problems that people face.

Drahos has a rather deep interest in Czech history and his views are balanced and they not provoke, including such controversial 20th century issues as the 1938 Munich Agreement, president Edvard Benes (1935-1948, during Nazi occupation in exile) and the postwar expulsion of Germans from Czech border regions, Zidek writes.

He says this is important since the incumbent President Milos Zeman won his post in 2013 mainly because his rival Karel Schwarzenberg did not fully support the expulsion, which is a view most of the Czech population does not share and which a part of it considers nearly a treason.

As the questions were asked by historian Jiri Padevet, Drahos's former subordinate and director of the Academia state-run publishers that issued the book, Drahos is neither challenged in any way nor confronted with any impertinent questions.

The book has been intended as a reflection of the career of the outgoing head of the Czech Academy of Sciences, however, Drahos can use it in his campaign very well. When Padevet and Drahos were working on the book, Drahos was definitely already considering running for president, yet there is not a single mention of this in the book, Zidek writes.

Therefore, the readers are not told is why Drahos decided to run for president. However, not even Drahos's website offers the answer. It has a section Why I am Running for President, but this section only includes a subsection What I am Going to Promote, Zidek says.

Zidek writes that this seems typical of Drahos: even when he speaks of how he became the head of the Academy of Sciences, he presents it as a result of coincidences and wishes of his colleagues rather than of his personal strategy, Zidek writes.

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