Czech Republic May Elect First Jewish President
According to The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Czech Republic may be on its way to becoming the first country in the world –apart from Israel- to elect a Jewish president. The JTA reports that former caretaker Prime Minister Jan Fischer is “neck and neck” with another candidate in the latest Czech polls. Voting in the Czech elections will begin on Friday. According to The JTA, in the Czech system, there are two rounds of voting. All the candidates compete in the first round and the two candidates who win the most votes face off against one another in the next round. The JTA reports that political pundits are predicting that Fischer will at least make it to round two.
The Economist also suggests that Fischer has a good chance of winning the election. Indeed, it says, “Jan Fischer has been the frontrunner to succeed Václav Klaus as Czech president since a constitutional change earlier this year shifted the election to a direct popular vote.”
The Economist further reports that Fischer has strong support from the Czech business community. Yet, while some candidates who enjoy strong relationships with big businesses are criticized for participating in crony capitalism, The Economist reports that Transparency International’s Czech branch gave Fischer a rating of 93%. That, says the newspaper, is “the highest of any candidate.” Fischer’s nearest opponent, Miloš Zeman it says, has a rating of only 52%.
Nevertheless, according to Czech Happenings (CH), polls suggest that Zeman (who is also a former prime minister) is likely to win the first round of voting. Indeed, according to CH, Zeman is likely to capture more than 25% of the votes in the direct election, while Fischer is likely to gain around 20%. Furthermore, says CH, support for Fischer has been “decreasing”, while support for Zeman has remained stable.
The Prague Daily Monitor also suggests that Zeman is likely to win. Citing the same poll as CH, the paper notes that Fischer was previously in the lead in polls, but that his lead had slipped in recent days. The Daily Monitor quotes commentator Martin Komarek as saying that the reason Zeman was overtaking Fischer in recent polls was that “Zeman has a much better campaign and he has been more convincing in public debates.”
On the other hand, says The Monitor, political analysts say that the elections may be “markedly differ from the real results of the voting.” One analyst, Miroslav Mares, says The Monitor pointed out that the polls had been wrong during other presidential elections.
Filed Under: Politics
About the Author: Miranda has a B.A. in political science and has worked over a decade as a news reporter, financial news writer and political blogger. More about Miranda