Czech family excited about presidential poll

Matěj Bílek, Margita Týnková, photo: Eva Turečková

Polling stations around the country opened on Friday for Czechs to cast their vote in presidential elections. What are they expecting from their presidential candidate? Do they think their vote makes any difference? We talked to two Czechs at the opposite ends of the age spectrum about how they perceived the contest.

Margita Týnková, photo: archive of Margita Týnková
Margita Týnková, who is 92, describes the moment she and her classmates cried at school when they learned about the death of the first Czechoslovak president, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, back in 1937.

She says the image of president Masaryk riding his horse stays clear in her mind, and she still perceives him as the father of the nation.

Mrs Týnková was born in 1925 and lived to see all Czech and Czechoslovak presidents. Five years ago, she took part in the first direct presidential election and she is ready to cast her ballot again this time. So what is her idea of an ideal presidential candidate?

“He should be a real man, good-looking, with a good haircut. He should also be intelligent, decent and honest and willing to look after other people. In short, a good man.”

For Ms Týnková’s grandson Matěj, a high-school student and a first-time voter, looks are not the most important thing when it comes to choosing the right president:

“I think the president is a representative figure and he should represent the Czech Republic on the outside. He should be a good diplomat and a decent man. So the looks are really not that important for me.

“I guess extravagant appearance might even be harmful. But I wouldn’t mind his looks as long as I agreed with what he says and we stands for.”

Matěj says that most of his school-mates at the grammar school are involved and interested in politics and it is definitely an important topic for them:

Matěj Bílek, Margita Týnková, photo: Eva Turečková
“On the other hand, some people also say that politics is not that important, because it doesn’t have a direct impact on them. Which may be true to some extent, but I think everyone should use their chance.”

For Matěj, the main advantage of a direct presidential election is the fact that he can take part and chose a candidate to his own liking.

Margita Týnková, Matěj and the rest of their family live together in a family house near Mělník in Central Bohemia and plan to spend the weekend closely following the results.

“We will definitely follow the results. I won’t even have time to grab something to eat. I will be sitting here so that I don’t miss anything. I am really excited about the outcome.”