President Vaclav Klaus votes

President Vaclav Klaus and his wife Livia, photo: CTK

When polling stations in the Czech Republic opened on Friday, the country's leading political representatives did not wait long to cast their votes. President Vaclav Klaus and his wife, Livia, voted together at an elementary school in Prague 8.

President Vaclav Klaus and his wife Livia,  photo: CTK
President Vaclav Klaus had some fun in front of the cameras as he dropped his ballot into the box at a school in Prague's Kobylisy district on Friday afternoon. As the cameras were snapping his picture, he told his wife, Livia, "let's drop our ballots in at the same time."

The Presidential couple arrived at their traditional polling station to find a contingent of photographers and television crews, including some from neighbouring Slovakia's t.v. Markiza, all of whom wanted to capture images of President Klaus voting in his first general election as the Czech Republic's head-of-state. He's voted before, as a leading politician and as Prime Minister, but never as a President.

Vaclav Klaus with his mother,  photo: CTK
The setting itself was rather average: a small school gymnasium, with blue floor mats rolled up and placed neatly along one wall, and colourful hoola-hoops hanging on hooks on the walls.

Outside the school, President Klaus took a few moments to tell the press that he thinks voters have a good basis on which to make their decision, that leading Czech politicians clearly presented who they are and what they stand for during the campaign. As for voter turn-out, President Klaus expects that it will be about the same as in the previous elections, around 55%. Reacting to a question about the sometimes aggressive campaign and what this says about the state of Czech politics, President Klaus said:

"Well, I think that to call the campaign vicious is an overstatement. If I can compare the campaign in any other European country, it's very similar. So I wouldn't have such a high-brow approach to the situation in the Czech Republic."

As for what he'll be doing as he waits for the election results, the President Klaus and his wife will be in Lany, the countryside residence of the President, together with Mr. Klaus' ninety-two year old mother.