Articles

Looking For A President

In Politics on July 8, 2007 by Petr Bokuvka

We have to find someone who would fight Vaclav Klaus in the upcoming presidential elections, said opposition leader Jiri Paroubek in a television debate today [the MFD article is in Czech]. So his Social Democrats try to agree upon a candidate with Christian Democrats and the Green Party.

It is quite obvious already that they won’t negotiate. They will haggle. All of them. The Christian Democrats are not united in their opinion about Vaclav Klaus who is the former PM and leader of Civil Democrats. They now have the loudest voice in the government coalition. So, Paroubek et al. will try to convince some Christian Democrats that they should support anyone who would oppose Klaus.

The Czech Christian Democrats have over years gained reputation that some political analysts call “the coat goes where the wind goes”. Paroubek knows it, that is why he will have to find a candidate who is widely acceptable. In other words: sort of a pawn. The Civil Democrats will support Klaus, that is for sure. He has been “their” strongest personality since 1990.

The president is elected by the Parliament. Which is tricky especially in relation to the aforementioned Christian Democrats. Some might support Klaus, some the “other guy” but they will do it based on what they agree upon with Paroubek, not based on what their voters will tell them. All parties have been talking about direct vote. Nobody has had the courage to actually enforce it in the form of Constitution amendment. They would lose a great deal of influence. After all, it is the president who vetoes laws and represents the country. 

Slovaks have direct vote in presidential elections and it works fine. Every country has a president the people deserve [of course, with the exception of coup d’état]. 

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