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Drahoš to have two TV duels with Zeman, wants to meet voters

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Jablunkov/Trinec, North Moravia, Jan 16 (CTK) – Czech presidential candidate Jiri Drahos will take part in two TV duels with President Milos Zeman before the runoff, and Zeman will be alone on TV if he wants to go to four debates, Drahos told CTK during his visit to his home town Jablunkov on Tuesday.

Zeman, who is defending his post, refused to take part in any of the debates with the other presidential candidates before the first round of the vote, from which he and Drahos advanced last weekend. Zeman clearly won the first round, but Drahos is supported by the candidates who ended from the third to the sixth positions. The runoff will be held on January 26-27.

Drahos recalled that Zeman claims that he has not been waging any campaign before the presidential election, yet he has been touring the country for the past five years.

“I promised the voters that I will visit the regions and meet them during these two weeks. I can see no reason to prefer debates with Milos Zeman. Even Zeman said a third and further debate would be boring,” Drahos said.

He said he wanted to visit the cities of Brno and Ostrava, the centres of southern and northern Moravia.

Drahos said his election team came together with the teams of Michal Horacek and Marek Hilser who did not advance from the first round. “They are working together now. There are a great many volunteers from both camps of my former opponents.

He said they were planning a joint trip with Horacek and Hilser if there would be enough time for it.

It was in Jablunkov where Drahos first announced his presidential candidacy in March 2017 shortly after he left the post of head of the Czech Academy of Sciences which he had occupied for eight years.

On Tuesday, Drahos thanked the locals for their support. He said he is the only candidate who won in his home town.

From Jablunkov, Drahos went to the nearby Trinec to watch part of the ice hockey Champions League semifinal game between the local team and Finnish Jyvaskyla.

In Trinec, Drahos told CTK he was not surprised that the minority government of Andrej Babis (ANO) lost the confidence vote held in the Chamber of Deputies this afternoon. “I think all of us expected this result, even Andrej Babis,” he said.

Drahos said if he were president, he would appoint next prime minister somebody who would have a chance to form a stable government. He said the rules of the game are set by Zeman now.

“(Zeman) will certainly do all he can do to appoint a government he wishes to have still during his presidency. Everything else is speculation at the moment,” Drahos said.

None of the eight other parties in the Chamber supported ANO’s minority cabinet in the confidence vote.

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