Prague, March 29 (CTK) – The Czech Social Democrats (CSSD) have reacted with reluctance to former Science Academy chairman Jiri Drahos’s candidacy for president, with CSSD deputy head Lubomir Zaoralek wishing him good luck and the first deputy head, Milan Chovanec, saying his candidacy will boost the race’s diversity.
CSSD chairman and PM Bohuslav Sobotka said yesterday Drahos’s candidacy will make the early 2018 direct presidential election more attractive.
“Drahos performed very well at the head of the Academy of Sciences. Now it will turn out whether he is a sufficiently strong candidate for president,” Sobotka said.
Drahos, 68, announced his candidacy on Tuesday.
Zaoralek, who is foreign minister, said he wishes Drahos well but does not have enough information about him.
According to Zaoralek, Drahos’s problem is that within a short period of time he has to address the people who have not known him so far.
“I consider him a decent and respectable man and I wish him good luck,” Zaoralek told journalists during a cabinet meeting yesterday.
He said he has not yet pondered on whether to support Drahos. He will do so after Drahos presents himself within the campaign.
Chovanec, known as a supporter of the incumbent President Milos Zeman, who will seek re-election in 2018, said the election battle will be “more interesting, since Mr Drahos is an interesting personality.”
“I do not conceal my support for President Zeman and nothing has changed about this. On the other hand, the battle will be more diverse, since Mr Drahos will add a certain new quality to it. It will be an interesting battle, let’s wait to see the outcome,” Chovanec told journalists.
Political analysts expect Drahos to win support mainly from voters in cities and towns.
They do not expect him to attract Zeman’s fans, but say he will be a strong contender among Zeman’s rival candidates.
Sobotka previously said the CSSD will choose its candidate for president in an internal referendum in summer.