John given weak mandate as continuing chairman of Public Affairs

Radek John, photo: CTK

Public Affairs chairman Radek John has been re-elected to his post following an online vote by party members. Mr John received almost 1,200 votes via the internet while the head of the party’s parliamentary club, Karolína Peake, came in a close second. In many ways, the online election has left a lot to be desired as surprisingly only some 40 percent of eligible supporters took part.

Radek John, photo: CTK
A little earlier I spoke to political analyst Petr Just and asked how he saw the mandate given to the leader of the smallest coalition party.

”Forty percent is a bit of a surprise as the percentage from those who were eligible to vote: I had expected the number would have been much higher. With only forty percent taking part and Mr John receiving only some 1,200 votes, it does not leave him in a very good position moving forward. I don’t think he can declare this as a complete victory, given the number could have been much higher.”

What are possible reasons why the majority, albeit a slim one, chose Mr John? I ask because Karolína Peake came a close second...

“It’s true that the difference between the two or the gap was very small: in fact, the difference in votes was almost exactly that gained by the third candidate, Dagmar Navrátilová, which has led to speculation whether if she dropped out the numbers could benefit Mrs Peake.

Radek John, Karolína Peake, photo: CTK
“As for Radek John, he received more votes on the basis of fact that he is still the most recognisable and visible member of Public Affairs. As a new party in Parliament, the party has a lack of personalities capable of attracting public attention and there really is no one else. He was a long-time journalist and TV presenter and that has helped him even if his popularity has suffered and fallen since he entered politics. But every party knows it has to have someone capable of gaining broader attention at its head.”

To come back to the point you made about Mrs. Navrátilová which you say is speculative, I guess she could still act as a spoiler because the results haven’t yet been officially confirmed by the party?

“That’s right and that will be taking place at the weekend. But, to be fair, we do expect Mr John will be confirmed in the post and we expect things will go smoothly.”

Mr John re-elected as party chairman: I think most would agree that he has a monumental task ahead because Public Affairs has been hit by numerous scandals that have seen the party plummet in public opinion polls. What does he have to do to turn the party’s flagging fortunes around and can he be successful?

Dagmar Navrátilová
“Well I’m not actually sure if that will be his role right now because most of the cases are personal ones tied to other members of Public Affairs, like Vít Bárta. And he said a few days ago he now has material allegedly proving he did nothing wrong. So this is more of a question that should be raised against him personally or others who have been the centre of controversy. I don’t think Radek John should have to solve things on their behalf. Of course, on the outside and in the public eye Mr John will have to state that the party is stabilising itself and he will make an effort. But I think that the major task ahead is now in the hands of Mr Bárta and others.”