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Experts: Ex-PM’s entry in presidential campaign breakthrough

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Prague, Nov 20 (CTK) – Former Czech prime minister Mirek Topolanek’s entry into the presidential campaign has been a breakthrough, because he is raising both positive and negative emotions and he could induce the other candidates to make stronger statements, marketing experts have told CTK.

The candidates seeking the citizens’ support for their candidacy have been the most visible since the beginning of the year, while the former head of the Academy of Sciences, Jiri Drahos, has fared the best, Martin Joachymstal, political marketing consultant, told CTK.

“[Drahos] acquired the role of the favourite and of the main challenger of President Milos Zeman who seeks re-election,” Joachymstal said.

Businessman and lyricist Michal Horacek ranked second after Drahos, Joachymstal said.

According to experts, the candidates have slowed down their campaign before the general election.

The boldest part of the campaign took place before the summer, Karel Kominek, chairman of the Institute of Political Marketing, told CTK.

“Since the end of August, the presidential candidates have been aware that attention will be focused on someone else,” he said.

The main part of the campaign is to start at the end of November, Kominek believes.

Topolanek, a former Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman and PM in 2006-2009, announced his intention to run in the election just before the close of the registration at the Interior Ministry.

This was a smart move, Joachymstal said.

“He disrupted the strategy of those who were determined to fight for their place in the second round, where they would contest Milos Zeman. A number of them were planning to ‘keep silent’ avoiding controversial attitudes and views up until the second round in order not to lose too many potential voters,” he said.

Both Kominek and Joachymstal said Topolanek would make the other candidates express stronger statements, even though it is not clear yet how many supporters he might win.

“Topolanek is a candidate who will shake the election and although not many people have been able to admit this so far, he will get things moving somehow,” Kominek said.

According to Kominek, Topolanek meets several criteria Czechs have on the president, such as political experience, ability to represent and a vision.

Never mind he also has a number of opponents, as long as he raises emotion, Kominek adds.

According to Joachymstal, some of the candidates might grasp the theme of national interest, the Czech Republic’s position in Europe and worldwide and link it to the next year’s 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia.

Kominek expects the candidates to try to present themselves as people with a story and competencies.

“The campaigns will be revolving around their life story, showing what they have achieved,” he said.

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