News

 

Watchdog monitors uneven openness in Czech presidential campaign

 
photo:  (radio.cz)
 

The first stage of the Czech presidential elections is reaching its climax with voting taking place this Friday and Saturday. The nine candidates seeking to become head of state will be trying to get their final messages through in the next days and that’s likely to mean a rush to the campaign coffers where some are, apparently, more equal and open to scrutiny than others.

 
 

It’s the second direct Czech presidential elections with nationwide campaigns in swing from the nine candidates. And, like the first time round five years ago, there are clear rules about financing the campaigns and declaring sponsors and spending. There’s a 40 million crown spending limit over the two rounds and candidates must keep transparent accounts.

Anti-corruption watchdog and good government promoter, Transparency International, has been monitoring the individual campaigns so far. Director of the Czech branch, David Ondráčka, on Monday released some of the results, saying that the intention is to give voters a heads up about spending and openness. He highlighted the trends of some of the biggest spenders, including current president, Miloš Zeman, who is seeking a second term in office:

ʺOverall spending, in our estimate, makes up around 200 million Czech crowns, which is quite a hefty sum for a relatively short campaign.

"In terms of individual candidates, we basically provide individual assessments of each of them. [Miloš] Zeman has the least transparent campaign, and it is basically not providing any information. He is organising his campaign through an external entity which does not provide any information about their sponsors and expenditures. That’s the worst case of opacity that can be imagined.

"Other candidates, let’s take Mr. [Jiří] Drahoš, second in the polls at the moment, has the most sponsors from the corporate sector and large business, even such companies which are related to such controversial things like Mostecká Uhelná, Škoda Transportation and some developers. However, he’s providing information and it seems that he is taking some steps towards transparency.

"Mr. [Michal] Horaček, he’s special because he’s basically self- financing his campaign and he’s not collecting any sponsorship from outside. The issue is that he is also financing his campaign through an external subject which has a transparent account but it is published only every month so you don’t necessarily get fully updated and quick data.

"And last, Mirek Topolánek, he’s very much sponsored by large companies and certain influential individuals."

Ondráčka adds that the spending of the former Civic Democrat prime minister is not that transparent either.

The head of the watchdog says some candidates have spent very little at all, such as Jiří Hynek, Marek Hilšer, and Petr Hannig. Also standing are Vratislav Kulhánek and Pavel Fischer. The assessments can be seen on Transparency International’s Czech website.

The structure of the campaigns are not so exceptional so far with posters, meetings, and, ever increasingly, social media playing a major role.

The president could be elected this week if one candidate lands more than 50 percent of the votes. If not, the first and second most popular will face off in a second round two weeks later.

 
Author: Český rozhlas Radio Praha
 
Added: 09.01.2018
 
 
 

Related articles

 
News
 
 

Criminal prosecution of Czech PM...

The lower house of Parliament decided Friday to lift immunity for the prime minister and his ANO senior...

 
 
News
 
 

Zeman loss could lead to Babiš...

The political future of current Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš seems rather up in the air at present...

 
 
News
 
 

Pressure mounts on ANO leader facing...

The minority government of Andrej Babiš has decided to resign following its failure to win a vote of...

 
 
News
 
 

Czech government rules out joining...

Prague has decided not to sign up to a legal appeal against air pollution limits approved by the European...

 
Most favourite

History of Czech fine art

What happened in the realm of fine art at the very beginning of the Czech…

Climate

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country located in moderate geographical…

The most significant current discoveries

During the last decade, Czech science has made many revolutionary discoveries…

Czech language

The Czech language belongs to the group of West Slavic languages. From another…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

 
 

Facebook recent activity