LN Poll: Most Czechs want Klaus to stay in politics

Poll commissioned by Lidové noviny daily shows most Czechs want President Václav Klaus to seek reelection or return to parliament

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Václav Klaus’ second presidential term ends in 2013, and according to a new poll commissioned by the daily Lidové noviny, 28 percent of Czechs think the head of state should seek reelection in direct elections, while 15 percent of respondents said he should return to the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) that he co-founded, and 12 percent would like him to establish a new right-wing conservative party. Some 44 percent say Klaus should leave politics.

Klaus is being guarded about his plans following the end of his second presidential term, but he has made it clear he’ll remain in public life. The question being asked is in what capacity. If the Czech Constitution is not changed to allow for direct presidential elections, the option of running for a third term will not be open to him: Currently, presidents are elected by the parliament and limited to serving two five-year terms. Klaus became president in 2003. There is growing speculation  Klaus and close associates plan to form a nationalist, anti-EU, ultra-conservative party.

There is growing speculation that Klaus and his close associates, including his official presidential aides Petr Hájek and Ladislav Jakl, and perhaps even the outspoken controversial figure Ladislav Bátora, are planning to establish a nationalist, anti-EU, ultra-conservative party.

In the poll commissioned by LN and conducted by the agency Millward Brown, respondents were also asked what their position would be towards a party established by Klaus and Bátora — currently the head of personnel at the Ministry of Education and head of the civil initiative D.O.S.T., which was founded in 2009 to oppose the Lisbon Treaty, reject multiculturalism and anti-discrimination laws, and defend the traditional family.  

Five percent of respondents said such Klaus–Bátora party would appeal to them “very much”; 25 percent said they find such a party “rather appealing”; whereas 37 percent said it would probably not appeal to them, and 33 percent said it would “definitely not” appeal to them.

Young ultra-conservatives

The Millward Brown poll also divided the results into age groups. It is notable that most support for a new ultra-conservative party was from respondents aged 30 to 39, with 33 percent in favor.

Twenty-seven percent of respondents aged 60 and over said Klaus should leave politics next year, a higher percentage than in the other age groups. Nevertheless, the same age group expressed most support for Klaus to return to the ODS (35 percent).

The poll was conducted on August 20 – 22 among 534 respondents.

Lidové noviny is traditionally a conservative-leaning publication. The poll published in Wednesday’s edition included comments about Klaus by five musicians and actors, all of whom expressed a favorable opinion of the president.