Court: Zeman campaign lied, but vote outcome unaffected

Tomas Franek
19. 2. 2013 12:26
Supreme Administrative Court: Zeman campaign told lies, but they did not affect final outcome of presidential election
The controversial ad in Blesk
The controversial ad in Blesk | Foto: Aktuálně.cz

Brno - On the first day of the run-off presidential election between ex-prime minister Milos Zeman and current Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg in January this year, a full-page advertisement appeared in the Blesk tabloid newspaper, accusing Schwarzenberg of allying with the so-called Sudeten Germans, expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War II.

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The aggressive advertisement harmed the foreign minister's candidacy by telling lies, and also because there was no way Schwarzenberg could react to the false allegations. However, the advertisement's impact was not decisive enough to affect the final outcome of the presidential vote, said the Supreme Administrative Court, dismissing a complaint against the presidential election.

In other words, Milos Zeman was poised to win the election anyway, regardless of the unfair advertisement and other means deemed illegal by the court. The Court pointed out that Zeman had managed to receive nearly 500,000 more votes than his opponent.

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Also, the court said that no connection between the advertisement and the Zeman campaign has been established.

The complaint against the Blesk advertisement was the last of several complaints filed against the Czech presidential election, whose outcome is thus officially valid.

Blesk published the controversial ad on January 25, just a few hours before the polls opened at 2 PM. The one-page ad displayed a picture of Schwarzenberg's face, crossed out with a red slash, with an accompanying text accusing the presidential candidate of being supported by Bernd Posselt, a controversial representative of the Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia. The headline said: "Don't vote for Karel Schwarzenberg."

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