Czech presidential election, 2013

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Czech presidential election, 2013
Czech Republic
2008 ←
11–12 January 2013 (first round)
25–26 January 2013 (second round)
→ 2018

Turnout 59.11%
  Miloš Zeman 2012-12-03 cropped.jpg Karl von Schwarzenberg.jpg
Nominee Miloš Zeman Karel Schwarzenberg
Party SPOZ TOP 09
Popular vote 2,717,405 2,241,171
Percentage 54.8% 45.2%

Presidential Results 2013 - Second Round - districts.svg

The highest number of votes in the districts of the Czech Republic in the second round of the election (blue Karel Schwarzenberg, red Miloš Zeman)

President before election

Václav Klaus
Independent

Elected President

Miloš Zeman
SPOZ

Coat of arms of the Czech Republic.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Czech Republic
Foreign relations

The first direct presidential election in the Czech Republic was held on 11–12 January 2013.[1][2] No candidate received a majority of the votes in the first round, so a second round runoff election was held on 25–26 January. Nine individuals secured enough popular signatures or support of parliamentarians to become official candidates for the office. Miloš Zeman (SPOZ) and Karel Schwarzenberg (TOP 09) qualified for the second round of the election.[3]

The incumbent President Václav Klaus is term-limited, thus precluded from seeking reelection.[4] His term ends on 7 March 2013. The newly elected president will begin his five-year term on the day he takes the official oath.[5]

On 26 January 2013, Miloš Zeman won the second round of the election and has been elected the next president of the Czech Republic.[6] He won 54.8% of the second-round vote, compared to Schwarzenberg's 45.2%.[7] He assumed office after being sworn in March 2013.

Background[edit]

The Prague Castle, official residence of the Czech President, behind the statue of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the first President of Czechoslovakia

Since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia and the adoption of a new constitution in 1992, the office of president has been filled by votes by a joint session of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Czech Republic. The possibility of a directly elected President has been controversial because of concerns that it could weaken a government under the Prime Minister.[8][9] The 2008 presidential election, which narrowly reelected Václav Klaus after several attempts, however was criticized for the appearance of political deal-making and allegations of corruption.[9][10][11] Prime Minister Petr Nečas subsequently put the issue of a directly elected President in his three-party coalition agreement when he formed his government in 2010, in part because of demands by the TOP 09 party, and the Public Affairs and Mayors and Independents parties.[9] Several outspoken opponents of the change however came from the Prime Minister's own Civic Democratic Party.[12]

In September 2011, an amendment was submitted to the Chamber of Deputies for a second official reading, during which the Communist Party (KSČM) tried to reject the bill by sending it back into the review process, but the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD), also part of the opposition, did not support the Communists' motion,[12] and allowed the bill to go ahead with certain changes, including limits on presidential power and penal immunity.[13] On 14 December 2011, the Chamber of Deputies passed the constitutional amendment for direct elections by a vote of 159 out of 192.[13] This was then sent to the Senate, which passed the amendment on 8 February 2012 after five hours of debate[8] by a majority of 49 of 75.[14] The Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Pavel Rychetský, criticized the bill's method in which a constitutional amendment was in effect added, though without changing the original text of the constitution, and while leaving the election open to legal and constitutional challenges.[15]

In June 2012 an implementation bill for holding the election passed in the Chamber of Deputies, and in July in the Senate.[1] Though constitutional amendments do not require presidential approval, and cannot be vetoed,[14] President Václav Klaus did need to sign or veto the implementation bill; a refusal could have halted the constitutional changes.[1] Klaus opposed the measure, though saying it was a "fatal mistake"[8] as the country was not ready for such a move.[16] He however signed the law on 1 August 2012.[1] The law is scheduled to take affect 1 October 2012,[dated info][14] after which Senate President Milan Štěch is due to set a date for the election, following discussions with the Ministry of the Interior.[needs update][17]

The two-day first round was on 11–12 January 2013. However, because no one secured an absolute majority, a run-off round was held on 25–26 January 2013.[17] Candidates were allowed to spend up to 40 million in the first round and 10 million in the second round. Each candidate had an election committee that manages campaign funding, which should be run through a special account. All anonymous campaigns contributions were banned.[1]

Candidates[edit]

In order to be a candidate, an individual needs to gather 50,000 signatures from citizens or the support of twenty Deputies or ten Senators. The candidates were bound to file their applications with the signatures sixty-six days before the election;[17] following which the Interior Ministry verified a sampling of the signatures.[1]

The Civic Democratic Party (ODS) held a primary elections in July 2012 to choose their candidate, selecting former President of the Senate Přemysl Sobotka over MEP Evžen Tošenovský.[18] SPOZ, TOP 09, and Suverenita have their party leaders running for the post. Jan Švejnar, who ran for the presidency in 2008 against Václav Klaus, declined to run in order to support Jan Fischer's candidacy.[11]

Confirmed candidates[edit]

Candidate Quorum fulfillment[19] Party Affiliation prior to
the Velvet Revolution
Occupation PPM Factum Opinion poll
6–16 Sep 2012
PPM Factum Opinion Poll
13 Dec 2012
PPM Factum Opinion Poll
6 Jan 2013
BobošíkováJana Bobošíková 2012-12-03.JPG
Jana Bobošíková
50 810[20] leader of Sovereignty – Jana Bobošíková Bloc, formerly Sovereignty – Party of the Common Sense, formerly leader of Politika 21, formerly independent candidate of NEZÁVISLÍ (The Independents) and Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia Socialist Union of Youth Journalist, former Member of European Parliament 3.8% 4.1% 5.6%
DienstbierJIRI Dienstbier mladsi cropped.jpeg
Jiří Dienstbier Jr.
27 Senators ČSSD Dissident
(Stuha)
Lawyer, Senator
(citizen of the CR and the USA)
6.9% 10.6% 10.6%
FischerPrime Minister of the Czech Republic Jan Fischer.JPG
Jan Fischer
77 387 Independent (politician) Communist Party
of Czechoslovakia

(19811990)
Statistician, former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic 27.7% 25% 20.1%
FischerovaTana Fischerova.jpg
Táňa Fischerová
64 961 leader of anthroposofic Key Movement, formerly independent candidate of US-DEU and Greens movement Dissident
(cs:Několik vět)
Artist, former Member of Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament N/A 4.4% 4.6%
FranzProf. JUDr. Vladimír Franz.jpg
Vladimír Franz
75 709 Independent None Artist, university professor 6.6% 9.8% 11.4%
RoithováZuzkaroithova cropped.jpg
Zuzana Roithová
75 066 KDU-ČSL, formerly independent candidate of Four-Coalition None Physician, Member of the European Parliament 3.4% 4.4% 4.6%
SchwarzenbergKarel Schwarzenberg on June 2, 2011.jpg
Karel Schwarzenberg 
 38 Deputies leader TOP 09, formerly member of Freedom Union, formerly member of Civic Democratic Alliance, Émigré, Austrian People's Party Prince of Schwarzenberg, Minister of Foreign Affairs
(citizen of the CR and Switzerland)
5.9% 9.2% 11%
SobotkaPremysl Sobotka.jpg
Přemysl Sobotka
 51 Deputies ODS None Physician, former President of the Senate 5.7% 6.8% 7.1%
ZemanMiloš Zeman, Brno, 2008.jpg
Miloš Zeman
82 856 leader of SPOZ, formerly leader of the Czech Social Democratic Party Communist Party
of Czechoslovakia

(19681970)
Economist, former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic 22.7% 25.6% 25.1%

Vladimír Franz appears insignificant in agency surveys but in November he was the obvious favorite of opinion polls of several different popular news servers and media (Aktuálně.cz,[21] Reflex,[22] iDnes.cz[23]) as well as of so-called "students' elections"[24] in all regions and all types of secondary schools.[25] The current president Klaus expressed fear that his successor would be Franz or Okamura.[26]

Disqualified candidates[edit]

The following list includes the candidates who were disqualified after the Ministry of Interior reviewed their petitions assessing that they failed to meet the quorum of minimum of 50,000 popular signatures or twenty MPs in the Chamber of Deputies, or ten MPs in the Senate.

Candidates Jana Bobošíková, Vladimír Dlouhý, and Tomio Okamura collected more than 50,000 signatures; however, after checking two samples of each petition and reducing the number of signatures according to the error rate, the number fell below the requirement; accordingly, they were not registered as candidates. Along with the action, the ministry stated that many of Bobošíková's alleged signatories were long dead; while in case of Okamura, the ministry found a large number of fictitious signatories. Both candidates appealed the ministry's decision before the Supreme Administrative Court, believing that the ministry had used an incorrect method of recount.[19]

On 13 December 2012, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled on the complaints. It ordered that Bobošíková must be registered as a candidate, and rejected the complaints of Dlouhý and Okamura, as even after correcting the error in computation their number of valid signatures still fails to meet the quorum.[27] Okamura unsuccessfully challenged the verdict at the Constitutional Court.[28]

Candidate Signatures lodged[19] Quorum fulfillment after recount[19] Party Affiliation prior to
the Velvet Revolution
Occupation PPM Factum Opinion poll
27 August 2012
PPM Factum Opinion poll
6–16 Sep 2012
PPM Factum Opinion Poll
15 Oct 2012
DlouhýVladimír Dlouhý politik cropped2.JPG
Vladimír Dlouhý
59 165 38 687 Independent, formerly Civic Democratic Alliance and Civic Forum Communist Party
of Czechoslovakia
Economist, former Minister of Industry and Trade N/A 4.5% 2.8%
OkamuraSvět knihy 2011 - Tomio Okamura.jpg
Tomio Okamura
61 966 35 751 Independent None Entrepreneur, Senator 7.3% 6.1% 7.9%
SamkováKlára Samková 1 076[27] TOP 09, formerly member of Civic Democratic Party, formerly candidate of the Romany Civic Initiative within Civic Forum Attorney, former Member of Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament
CibulkaPetr Cibulka 319[27] The Right Bloc Dissident Civic activist
KesnerJiří Kesner 54[27] Independent engineer
SvětničkaKarel Světnička 26[27] Independent state inspector
KašnáAnna Kašná unsuccessfully required parliament support The Crown of Bohemia (Monarchist party of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia) jurist, (wheelchair user)
HejmováIveta Heimová unsuccessfully required parliament support Independent teacher and artist
HejmováJindřiška Nazarská 60 member of Civic Democratic Party teacher and artist
HladíkRoman Hladík 18 Independent self-employed

Withdrawn candidate[edit]

Jan Toman from Bechyně filed his own candidature on 6 November but he attached no petition.[29] He was also the attorney of the candidate Karel Světnička, and Karel Světnička was the attorney of Jan Toman. However, a candidate must not be an attorney of any proposer. Jan Světnička surrendered his own candidature on 22 November and remained the attorney of Karel Světnička.[30]

Other announced candidates[edit]

The following list includes some of the people who announced their candidacy but the proposal was not filed finally. Some of them started to collect petition signatures.

Campaign[edit]

A sample of a ballot paper of Miloš Zeman and Karel Schwarzenberg used for the first round of the presidential election.

Zeman and Fischer were leading in the polls, but Schwarzenberg's campaign ended on a higher note with a crowd of about 10,000 people at a rally in Prague.[34] Zeman said of the runoff: "It will be a presidential race between a candidate for the left and a candidate for the right. We'll start from scratch for the second round;" Schwarzenberg said of his campaign that he would make the Czech Republic "a successful country." Vladimír Franz called his campaign "a success."[35]

Second round[edit]

Second round at Štěpánská Elementary, Prague, Czech Republic

The campaign for the second round started with the agreement of both candidates, Miloš Zeman and Karel Schwarzenberg, not to attack each other and to conduct their campaign in a civil manner.[36] However, when, in the second debate in the Czech Television held on 17 January 2013, Karel Schwarzenberg stated that the expulsion of Germans from Czechoslovakia after World War II would be today (in the 21st century) considered a war crime and the creators of the Beneš decrees (a series of laws dealing inter alia with the status of ethnic Germans and Hungarians in postwar Czechoslovakia in connection with Article 12 of the Potsdam Agreement) would be probably judged by the Hague Tribunal as war criminals, Zeman responded as following: "... he who marks (...) one of the presidents of Czechoslovakia as a war criminal, speaks as a "sudeťák" [Sudeten German] and not as the president".[37] Schwarzenberg has been criticized for the fact that his wife cannot speak Czech and that he spent a part of his life abroad, despite the fact that his family fled from communists when he was a child.[38][39] It was suggested that members of his family collaborated with Nazis, most notably by the son of the Czech President, Václav Klaus Jr. These charges have been dismissed by historians.[40] President Václav Klaus, his Slovak spouse Livia and son Václav expressed their concerns towards Schwarzenberg, pointing to the complete lack of knowledge of the Czech language of his spouse or to his emigration during the communist era. Schwarzenberg responded that "...the last hundred years have demonstrated that an appeal to the lowest instincts has tragic consequences."[41] Additionally, he countered by claiming that the President Klaus and Zeman created a power group and manipulated his claims. He also called their alleged pact a "fraud on the voters".[42] In a leaked text message to a friend, President Klaus wrote that if Karel Schwarzenberg won the election, he would consider emigration.[43]

Flag of the President of the Czech Republic with the inscription "Truth prevails".

The critics of Karel Schwarzenberg mentioned his post in the unpopular cabinet of Petr Nečas. Schwarzenberg, leader of a government coalition party TOP 09, a Vice-Premier and a Foreign Minister, was frequently associated with the Finance Minister and his TOP 09 colleague Miroslav Kalousek, one of the key proponents of the austerity measures and spending cuts in the Czech Republic.[44] In the first round, he received the majority of support by voters in Bohemian regions and in some of the biggest Czech cities, such as Prague, Brno, and Plzeň.

Miloš Zeman, a former successful politician and Social Democratic Prime Minister, announced his comeback and the intention to run in the election in February 2012.[45] He narrowly won the first round, supported mainly by voters from industrial regions such as North Bohemia and Silesia, and smaller towns and villages. He has been criticized for the opaque funding of his campaign; the media pointed to his special relationships with controversial business subjects and lobbyists, such as Miroslav Šlouf and the Russian oil company LUKoil.[46] Some of the issues associated with his previous political activities also reappeared in public. During the pre-election debates, Zeman had to face questions about connections between his former chief advisor Šlouf and the alleged mafia kingpin František Mrázek or about a discrediting campaign against his former colleague, Minister Petra Buzková.

On 22 January, the newspaper Mladá fronta DNES reported that the "massive negative campaign" of Miloš Zeman and his team won him popularity in the online media, while Schwarzenberg's supporters have a majority on social sites, such as Facebook.[47]

During the election, the tensions and rivalries in the Czech society and media culminated to an unusual degree.[48] Some of the commentators and politologists pointed to growing polarization of the society, which was also noted by some of the foreign media, such as The New York Times.[49]

On 26 January, Miloš Zeman won the second round of the election. In his first post-election speech, he thanked his supporters and promised to be the president of all people. He also criticized the media that openly supported only one of the candidates.[50] "Truth and love have finally prevailed over lies and hatred", stated the outgoing President Klaus, paraphrasing the renowned Czech statesman Václav Havel.[51]

The Austrian press ascribed Zeman's victory to a "dirty anti-German campaign."[52]

Median a Czech agency made a survey to find out what was the reason of the result. According to the survey Zeman was able to gain votes of left-wing supporters of other candidates namely Jan Fischer and Jiří Dienstbier Jr. Schwarzenberg on the other hand a little exhausted his electoral base in the first round and lost some supporters during a debate about Beneš decrees and his membership in Petr Nečas' Cabinet. According to the survey Zeman was an acceptable candidate fo 46% of voters and Schwarzenberg for 35%. 71% of asked expected that the next president will influence the government and will support patriotism.[53]

Election[edit]

First round results by regions: Blue Karel Schwarzenberg, red Miloš Zeman. Note that only countrywide outcome counts, results by regions have no material effect.
First round results by district.

There were 14,904 polling stations in the Czech Republic, and 102 abroad.[54]

During the second round, in the presence of journalists, Karel Schwarzenberg registered an invalid vote by forgetting to insert his paper into the required stamped envelope.[55]

Results[edit]

Candidate Party First round Second round
Votes % Votes %
Miloš Zeman Party of Civic Rights – Zemanovci 1,245,848 24.21 2,717,405 54.80
Karel Schwarzenberg TOP 09 1,204,195 23.40 2,241,171 45.20
Jan Fischer Independent 841,437 16.35
Jiří Dienstbier Jr. Czech Social Democratic Party 829,297 16.12
Vladimír Franz Independent 351,916 6.84
Zuzana Roithová KDU-ČSL 255,045 4.95
Táňa Fischerová Key Movement 166,211 3.23
Přemysl Sobotka Civic Democratic Party 126,846 2.46
Jana Bobošíková Suverenita 123,171 2.39
Total valid votes 5,143,966 99.53 4,958,576 99.5
Invalid votes 24,195 0.47 24,905 0.5
Total 5,168,161 100 4,983,481 100
Registered voters/turnout 8,435,522 61.31 8,434,648 59.11
Source: Volby.cz

References[edit]

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