Czechs give outgoing President Zeman poor marks for performance
Czechs assessed President Miloš Zeman’s ten-year performance in the country’s top post with an average 4 on a five point scale, the equivalent of a "D" in the Western school grading system, according to the results of a survey conducted by NMS Market Research.
As the country elects a new president, Czechs were asked to assess the performance in office of the outgoing head of state President Miloš Zeman. Mr. Zeman is now winding up his second five-year term in office, due to end on March 8.
In a survey conducted among 1,300 respondents around the country, President Zeman received an average 4 on a five-point scale for “overall performance”. In the individual areas assessed, Mr. Zeman received the best average grade, 3.4 , for actively supporting Czech entrepreneurs during trips abroad, and the worst average grade, 4, for the selection of his closest associates and for his role as a moral authority. People were also critical of the way in which he represented the country abroad and claimed that he divided society.
The president got an average 3.5 mark for the manner in which he had fulfilled his presidential duties under the constitution. In this area, rather than failing to perform his duties, he was criticized for often overstepping his powers or stretching them to the limit.
His grade for representing the country abroad was 3.8. While Czechs generally appreciated the U-turn in his foreign policy stance to strong support for Ukraine and criticism of Russia, many deemed it had come too late, criticizing him for his previous pro-Russian and pro-China policies.
While people praised Zeman’s rhetorical skills, they said they did not like his “arrogance, vulgar language and excessive smoking and drinking”, which all contributed to his overall poor marks.
People deplored his choice of associates and his decisions in granting pardons.
The president was criticized for dividing society rather than uniting it – which got him an average 3.8 mark and an average 4 –the equivalent of a “D” for moral authority, which he undoubtedly aspired to be. Mr. Zeman’s age or ailing health was not something people had a problem with.
Zeman received the best average rating from citizens in the Ústí and Moravian-Silesian regions, where he earned an average 3, the equivalent of a “C” and the worst rating from the citizens of Prague and the Hradec Králové region, which was closer to “F”.
So what do Czechs expect of their next head of state? According to a survey conducted ahead of the elections, 80 percent of Czechs said they wanted a “cultured personality”, 84 percent stressed the president should represent the country well abroad. Sixty-seven percent say he/she should understand the everyday problems of citizens and forty-four percent feel it is important for the head of state to unite the country. More than three quarters of respondents said gender made no difference when electing the head of state and 61 percent said they would not have a problem with a physical handicap.