Czech president urges voters to avoid media influence in election

Czech president urges voters to avoid media influence in election
# 12 January 2013 03:23 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA.The first ever direct presidential election in the Czech Republic started on Friday afternoon, with a colorful spectrum of candidates vying to take over eurosceptic out-going President Vaclav Klaus, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Casting his ballot, Klaus said the voters should not let their decision affected by media as the country's first ever direct presidential election started on Friday afternoon.

The new president should be someone who has already done something for the Czech Republic, whose experience is evident to everyone and "who really cares for this country," Klaus said when casting his ballot.

He said he hopes all people will take part in the election and will "decide according to their own minds, their own heads, not in accordance with the strong media campaign that has culminated these days."

Klaus refuted the speculations that he may shun the direct election, which he had sharply criticised.

Milos Zeman, former Social Democrat (CSSD) prime minister now running for the Citizens' Rights Party (SPOZ), is considered a favorite out of the nine presidential candidates.

Another candidate expected to advance to the second round of elections is former interim prime minister Jan Fischer (unaffiliated).

No matter who wins, there is hope that the first direct presidential election in Czech may bring a new political balance between the government and the Presidential Office.

The campaigns before the election have showed that presidential candidates have promised to push through a clear political agenda, which may cause tension in the Czech parliamentary system that does not identify with a strong role of the president.

The new president can use his direct, strong mandate from the voters in possible disputes with the executive power.

The presidential candidates have thus far presented a wide choice for Czech voters. Apart from Fischer and Zeman, the tattooed artist Vladimir Franz showed that one can succeed with a campaign without big sponsors by concentrating on social networking websites.

Despite the disputes over the registration of candidates for which Japan-born senator Tomio Okamura requested the election be postponed in vain, analysts said the presidential campaign shows candidates are focused on political programs rather than backstage political bargaining.