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LN: Drahoš not to run as anti-Zeman candidate in election

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Prague, March 30 (CTK) – Former Czech Science Academy (AV) head Jiri Drahos, who announced his presidential candidacy this week, says he does not want to be any anti-Zeman or anti-anybody, which is unfeasible, Ondrej Neff writes in daily Lidove noviny (LN) yesterday.
He writes that Drahos, 68, who was AV chairman from 2009 until March 24, was well visible on the public scene, even though the chemical engineering professor focused more on bringing the academy to a good material condition at least, but not on his own being visible.
Now, he will be competing with Milos Zeman who will be seeking re-election and who has done nothing during his public life but striving for being visible, Neff writes.
Drahos said he wants to be a decent politician for decent people, which has immediately earned him the first spiteful remarks made by both major rivals, Neff writes.
Zeman reacted through his “loyal” spokesman Jiri Ovcacek who called Drahos a media candidate, while lyricist and businessman Michal Horacek said Drahos will serve political parties and if elected, he will have to repay this to them, but he did not specify how.
Horacek, for his part, says Drahos’s alleged connection with political parties is disgusting the more so that political parties are disgusting and reprehensible institutions and that they have outlived their usefulness. He said he does not want to have anything to do with them, Neff writes.
He writes that the direct presidential election, of which Zeman is the first product, has weakened political parties so much that they have found themselves in a rather awkward situation and the large ones should field their own candidates, which is a matter of prestige and also some portion of power.
Andrej Babis, chairman of the ANO movement that has the biggest voter support according to public opinion polls, plays an open game, Neff writes.
Babis overtly allies with Zeman, the presidential election favourite, but has Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky up his sleeve as a possible candidate, while he declares that the presidential election is not ANO’s priority, Neff writes.
He adds that Babis has a manoeuvring scope open until the very last moment.
The Social Democrats (CSSD), headed by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, play an utterly ridiculous game. It says it will hold an intra-party referendum which is to make a decision, but what about? Neff asks.
He writes that Zeman has been permanently splitting the party (particularly since he left it in 2007) and this will worsen if Drahos wins broader public support and leaves Horacek far behind him, Neff writes.
He writes that Drahos may win unless Zeman is elected right in the first round.
In the coming months, Drahos will have to make it clear who he is and mainly who he is not, Neff writes.

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