Presidential election looms
After thirteen years in office as Czechoslovak and later Czech president Vaclav Havel is preparing to leave Prague Castle and the Czech Republic is now faced with the task of electing a new head of state. But, while Havel the dissident was the obvious choice back in 1990, it has now become clear that Czech political parties will be hard put to agree on who should replace him.
Candidates' private lives are being scrutinized and their media advisors are feeding the public with carefully selected scraps of information. Miroslav Bures is a "do it yourself whiz who can fix anything around the house" according to a recent article (which leaves you with a mental picture of the former justice minister screwing light bulbs into the huge chandeliers at Prague Castle). Miroslav Krizenecky - candidate for the Communist Party - says his friends dubbed him "the man with no self-preservation instinct" - because he feared nothing and no one. /Do we really need a president with no self preservation instinct?/ Jaroslava Moserova, the only woman candidate and a plastic surgeon by profession, says she has a soft spot for MASH, while Ombudsman Otakar
Motejl, a widower, has warned Czechs that if they elect him - they must dispense with the idea of having a first lady. Petr Pithart, the "philosopher" among the presidential candidates has admitted to reading poetry in bed and stories to his four grand-children. In short, the candidates are being presented to the public as "human beings" and Czechs are lapping it up. Articles on the four candidates sell like hot cakes - and people have already placed more bets on who will win the presidential elections than they have on who will win the 2004 European Football Championship.