Presidential challenger unnerves ruling party ahead of elections
The Czech presidential election is just days away and there’s no question that tensions are on the rise between those backing incumbent Václav Klaus and those backing his challenger, Jan Švejnar. In the latest twist in the run-up, Jan Švejnar has made new claims he has secured votes from some Civic Democrat lawmakers – traditionally loyal to Mr Klaus. The claims have fuelled speculation over both men’s chances – including the possibility of a Klaus upset.
“You know 120 people are a 120 people and I may have stepped on someone’s toes in the past, there may be people in the party who bear a grudge.”
Although bookmakers are putting their money on Vaclav Klaus winning a second term in office political analyst Jan Urban says Mr. Klaus has reason to fear opponents within his own party.
“We know for sure there is great discontent within the ruling Civic Democratic Party with President Klaus’ performance. And his influence over the party that links it to the not overtly successful of the Czech Republic in the 90s.”
“Do you think the Civic Democrats will actually stay united in their support of Klaus?”
“This is unclear. What surprises everybody is the level of nervosity that is shown by different factions of the Civic Democratic Party, which would suggest that more than an average number of sceptics within the party is open to surprises.”
“And what specific reasons would Civic Democrats have for not voting for Klaus?”
“Just to send him into political retirement because Klaus is not really prepared to give any new themes – his leadership is based only on the past and he is limiting the manoeuvring space for the party both domestically, but more importantly internationally.”
Despite the criticism many Civic Democrats maintain that Vaclav Klaus is far and away the better candidate and party leader and Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has linked his political future to Mr. Klaus’ re-election saying that the government could fall if the party fails to push through its own candidate. Most analysts believe that of the two candidates, it will be Jan Švejnar who will face the greatest difficulties in securing a majority of the vote.