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CZECH REPUBLIC 11-12 Jan 2013 Czechs hold first direct presidential election
The Czech Republic’s first direct presidential election to replace departing euroskeptic President Vaclav Klaus is widely d

January 11, 2013 - NULL

CZECH REPUBLIC 11-12 Jan 2013 Czechs hold first direct presidential election
The Czech Republic's first direct presidential election to replace departing euroskeptic President Vaclav Klaus is widely described as a response to public demands for more transparency and less cronyism and corruption in the country's politics. Previously, the parliament elected the president. The presidency, once held by anti-communist dissident and playwright Vaclav Havel, is an esteemed and influential role rather than a pinnacle of power. The two main candidates from six expected to qualify - former prime ministers Milos Zeman and Jan Fischer -- won't be following Havel's anti-communist footsteps

CZECH REPUBLIC 11-12 Jan 2013 Czechs hold first direct presidential election
The Czech Republic's first direct presidential election to replace departing euroskeptic President Vaclav Klaus is widely described as a response to public demands for more transparency and less cronyism and corruption in the country's politics. Previously, the parliament elected the president. The presidency, once held by anti-communist dissident and playwright Vaclav Havel, is an esteemed and influential role rather than a pinnacle of power. The two main candidates from six expected to qualify - former prime ministers Milos Zeman and Jan Fischer -- won't be following Havel's anti-communist footsteps. Before the fall of the Soviet Union they were members of Czechoslovakia's Communist Party.

Fischer is running as an independent. A leftist group, SPOZ, from the center-left Social Democratic party is backing Zeman. Both are more pro-European Union than Klaus, according to Reuters.

Anti-austerity measures, job losses and tax hikes are giving a boost to left-leaning candidates, including candidates in October's regional local elections on Oct 19 and 20. The electorate is leaning hard on the ruling three-party coalition, led by the center-right Civic Democrat party (ODS), for change. Current Prime Minister Petr Necas, who leads the ODS, is trying to push through another round of increases on sales taxes, property taxes and income taxes to take effect in 2013, according to the World Street Journal. He is facing resistance from inside his party and coalition and from the opposition.

Under the new election law, candidates who are not proposed by 10 senators or 20 members of the Chamber of Deputies must collect 50,000 citizens' signatures. Nov 6 is the deadline for submitting a candidature. (WRITTEN OCT 2012)

RELATED READING:

Czechs set first presidential election for Jan 11-12 (Reuters/Chicago Tribune)
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-czech-presidentbre8900at-20121001,0,7022682.story

Czech Left-leaning Parties Leadings in Polls Two Weeks before Elections (WSJ 1 Oct 2012)
http://blogs.wsj.com/emergingeurope/2012/10/01/czech-left-leaning-parties-leadings-in-polls-two-weeks-before-elections/

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Date written/update: 2013-01-11