Let's try to organize presidential elections among the TRF readers. It's supposed to be fun, you may choose your winner for serious reasons as well as less serious ones. Please feel more than free to invite your friends to vote for your favorite candidate, too. The actual presidential elections take place on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. There are nine candidates. I keep their ordering 1-9.
Zuzana Roithová MD is a politically correct physician who's been working in managements of hospitals and healthcare. She got an MBA remotely from Sheffield Hallam University. She's been a member of the European Parliament for some time. She doesn't have any opinions I am aware of except for the mundane politically correct clichés.
Jan Fischer is #2 in the most recent polls, #1 just a week ago. He was the prime minister in the 2009 technocratic government. He has been the vice-chairman of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development since 2010. Czechs view this boring bureaucrat as an ordinary and typical Czech despite the fact that if elected, he would become the world's third Jewish president (if I count not only Israel but unelected alternating heads of Switzerland). He tries to be liked by normal Czechs who are not quite politically correct but otherwise he has no strong opinions and his lack of charisma did show up in TV debates.
Jana Bobošíková has been a TV host and around 2000, she was the de facto director of the public Czech television, facing tons of obnoxious assholes from the PC TV labor unions who criticized the opposition treaty at that time; I somewhat publicly supported her at that time. She later became a member of the European Parliament. She wants to be just like Klaus but tougher. Her household is claimed to be a male-dominated one but already when it comes to her spouse's company, she is in charge! :-) Aside from the free market values and similar things, she primarily cares about the sovereignty (name of her party) of Czechia against the dictate from Brussels. Her previous attempts to become the president – in which she was paradoxically a candidate of the communists – were unsuccessful. She would have a chance to get my vote if I didn't know it's lost.
Táňa Fischerová (no DNA relationship to Jan Fischer) is an actress who had problems during communism. She is one of those who want to be a bit Havel-like and often talk about the civil (and apolitical) society. She lacks the required charisma as well as strength. She is a member of Amnesty International and various NGOs. She wrote some novels, too.
Přemysl Sobotka MD is a sort of a Czech Boehner, with a similar job. A career center-right politician who's been in politics for quite some time. He's always uncertain whether he prefers conservative values or whatever Brussels wants us to do. He's a member of various boards and has worked in local politics. Despite the backing of the main right-wing party, ODS, his chances to win tomorrow are tiny.
Miloš Zeman is the current #1 in the polls and I will vote for him tomorrow. This master of witticisms and forecaster who wrote insightful, witty, and partly anti-communist analyses already before the Velvet Revolution revived the social democratic party as a big one – overtook it and elevated it from 5% to 35%. A self-described leftist who often behaves as a right-winger would often fight Klaus in legitimate TV debates and became the prime minister in the late 1990s. At that time, the two men were already realizing they had greater respect for each other than for the B-class politicians in their respective parties, not so speak about the third small parties in between. Zeman is a climate skeptic of a sort. He thinks that the climate hysteria is silly and renewable energy etc. – for which he recently criticized Fischer, one of the folks responsible for the insane boom of solar subsidies in Czechia – is a waste of money. He wants to redefine NATO - perhaps with Israel included – as an alliance against the Islamic Anticivilization. He labeled journalists as the greatest enemies of the mankind. He's been living in the countryside for 10 years as a pensioner. A vivid smoker and a "slow, careful" drinker of alcoholic beverages. Previously, his favorite one was the bitter herbal beverage "Becherovka" from Carlsbad.
Prof Vladimír Franz likes the nickname Avatar. 90 percent of his body is tattooed. Due to his blue race, he's arguably the most widely discussed candidate in the world media. The interest is strengthened by the fact that with respectable 11.5% in the latest polls, he is actually the #3 candidate in the race right now. By the way: The remaining 10% of the skin are buttocks of some of the people who are tattooed on his skin, so that you may figure out it's (their) buttocks (his own buttocks and nearby parts are covered by tattoos as well, of course). His official visits to the Vatican and Saudi Arabia will be hilarious. He is a college professor, composer of classical music, and painter, so be sure he has some unusual skills. On the other hand, he has no idea about practical politics and no clue about economics. It's up to the reader to decide whether the design of this creature from Papua New Guinea is smoothly compatible with the gothic, baroque, and other styles of the Prague Castle. ;-) Politically, he is a PC babbler who pays lip service to environmentalism and related delusions.
Jiří Dienstbier Jr is the son of a rather well-known (late) ex-dissident of the same name whom I kind of liked and who was doing lots of foreign policy things after 1989. I think that this younger one is significantly more left-wing than his dad, some kind of a stereotypical Komsomol official. This candidate was born in Washington DC and despite the dissident status of his father, he was living a rather convenient life, I would say. Just like Franz is arguably the most colorful candidate, at least when it comes to the color of tattoos, Dienstbier is the least colorful one. His campaign has nothing to remember. This youngest one among all the candidates is the official candidate of the social democratic party and/but has almost no chance.
Karel Schwarzenberg, more precisely Karl Johannes Nepomuk Joseph Norbert Friedrich Antonius Wratislaw Menas, 12th Prince Schwarzenberg (First Majorat) and 7th Prince Schwarzenberg (Second Majorat), Duke of Krumlov, is an Austrian-Czech aristocrat (high nobility, he's rich and became richer when he defeated a relative in the court somewhere in Germany a few weeks ago). He's defined himself as the main heir to the traditions and values of Havel. He loves to sleep during events (like Alan Guth) which gave him the nickname Schlafenberg. His Czech is arguably weaker than his German. He's sort of slow. His wife is a daughter of hardcore Nazis. Schwarzenberg, despite his being center-right or Christian-party-oriented in some sense, may be similarly "hip" as Obama and may have a similar kind of voters who vote for things that are fashionable, including the greatest fraction of the "cultural front" (typically teenagers are even hipper so they may vote for Franz, not Schwarzenberg). He is roughly the #4 strongest candidate according to the polls.
Now you can make your choice. Let me mention that in the real polls, 50% of votes is needed to win immediately. Otherwise two strongest contenders will face one another two weeks from now.
Some fun (via Joseph S.): the most frequent bonus words searched together with the candidates on search engines, via novinky.cz:
Franz without tattoo; Zeman daughter, Zeman wife; Bobošíková nude, Bobošíková photo; Fischerová soil/attic; Fischer Communist-Party, Fischer Jew; Schwarzenberg when he was young; Roithová book, Roithová childhood; Sobotka VUML (College of Marxism-Leninism he used to study); Dienstbier father.
Click the picture for a photo gallery.
As an extra addition, you may also vote in the referendum for inhabitants of Pilsen. The question is: Should the City of Pilsen work hard to kill the project of the shopping-and-amusing center above, Corso, at the American Avenue (known as Moscow Avenue during communism: it's a similar name, isn't it?)
The possible answers are:
Yes: Let's punish those evil politicians and rich companies so that they know we are here! We are so strong and yes, we can. Those evil capitalists shouldn't have even demolished the beautiful Palace of Culture that was standing over there, the so-called House of Horror by the Radbuza River. The politicians will be obliged by this referendum to do everything they can to stop the construction of the center.
No: Let's respect the private ownership and help Pilsen to build this attractive structure in this commercially attractive place. It should be completed by 2015 when Pilsen is the European Capital of Culture. Lots of shops, fan shops of the soccer club, and cool new recreation things on the roof on the 5th floor (for children, skaters, etc.) will be built. If the vote were "Yes", the owner of the place would sue the city for $100 million in loss and damages (budget of Pilsen's City Hall for half a year). The city would have to pay for it and would probably have to increase the price of the public transportation, water, and other things. Maybe sell the Pilsner tower so that the new owner may build a brothel on it. On the place of the former House of Horror, there would be just a useless hole. Even if the company didn't win the lawsuit against the City of Pilsen, it's just wrong to harass private owners in this way.
This blog entry hasn't been proofread and won't be proofread because it won't be read by too many people – perhaps less than 1,000 – and the required time to fix the typos and grammar imperfections looks excessive to me in this case.