Czechs don’t believe in direct presidential elections by 2013 polls show

Despite an overall public support for the proposal of several political parties to change the mode of election of the president, polls show that Czechs remain sceptical whether politicians are ready to implement the changes.

A poll conducted by SANEP showed that 83.7 per cent of Czechs supported or strongly supported the introduction of direct presidential elections with only 9.4 percent opposing the idea. Nevertheless, only about a third are convinced that changes will actually be made until 2013 and 51.5 per cent of respondents declared they would not expect any changes. An explanation for this is that the proposal was considered several times in the last two decades (as in nearly all countries with indirect presidential elections, this question usually pops up in the forefront or aftermath of presidential elections). Furthermore, some leading politicians – such as the speaker of parliament’s lower chamber, Miroslava Nemcova – are still opposing any changes.

Meanwhile, several politicians have already announced their candidacy; these include former Czech prime minister Jan Fischer, former Czechoslovak prime minister Petr Pithart and economist Jan Svejnar who currently places first in most opinion polls. Quite surprisingly, only yesterday Miroslava Nemcova also added herself to the list of possible contestants during a television interview. According to the SANEP poll mentioned above, she would receive nearly twice as much votes as her ODS party colleague, the deputy chairman of the upper chamber, Premysl Sobotka – the only problem being that currently only 4.4 per cent would consider voting for her.

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