Presidential candidates remain deferential in TV debate
On Thursday evening, presidential hopefuls Karel Schwarzenberg and Miloš Zeman faced off in the first of two debates on Czech TV. Viewers over the course of the broadcast had plenty of opportunities to weigh both their strengths and weaknesses; the question now is whether the debates will sway still undecided voters ahead of the second round.
“The approach from both men was very respectful and they didn’t lower themselves to a tabloid level. In their debates, they have shown previous political experience and erudition and in Mr Zeman’s case a complex understanding of certain issues, namely economics. Mr Schwarzenberg lags behind on economic questions but what he lacks in that field, he makes up for with panache. The atmosphere was not unfriendly with the exception of a few moments in the debate.”
“Do you really think that the president is just a ficus plant or oleander in the corner of the room that you just have to water from time to time?! Or that in line with the Constitution when the president fundamentally disagrees with something... he shouldn’t speak out?... It is both the right and duty of the president to express his opinion!”
While Mr Zeman was more animated, Mr Schwarzenberg was unruffled in his response:
“I think the president can speak in the lower house but it should be a rare thing, an opportunity taken only when something major is at stake and the citizens expect a response. It should not be done every time the future of one law or another is at stake. If we went that route, things would not end well.”
The candidates are set to appear in one more Czech TV debate as well as on other broadcasters including Czech Radio next week. Voters will go to the polls on January 25 and 26.