Czechs say no to presidential election party dictate

Pavel Tomášek Pavel Tomášek
4. 2. 2008 13:15
Exclusive survey on the issue proves MPs wrong

Prague - Most of the Czech political parties have made sure their members know who to vote for during this Friday's presidential election, but that does not make them good representatives of the electorate, a survey commissioned by Aktuálně.cz showed

If the members of the two chambers of the parliament really listened to the vox populi they would not let their respective parties´ decisions influence their vote.

More than two thirds of those asked (68.81 per cent) think that the politicians should not listen to the party instructions with only 20.95 per cent suggesting otherwise. 

Herd mentality in action?
Herd mentality in action? | Foto: Tomáš Adamec, Aktuálně.cz

Those are the results of the exclusive poll that experts from the Palacký University in Olomouc made in the Czech cities of Prague, Brno and Bruntál.

"Are they idiots or what?"

If Czechs were given a chance to directly cast their votes, about 55 per cent would decide for the incumbent Václav Klaus, while 45 per cent would vote for his challenger Jan Švejnar.

In comparison 129 of the parliamentarians are known to be ready to vote for Mr. Klaus and 110 for Mr. Švejnar, the economics professor at the University of Michigan.

"I should vote based on my own conscience, that is a part of the pledge that all members of the parliament have to make when they are sworn into the office. So they should vote based on their own decision. The vote should also be public," one of the respondents said, referring to the Czech constitution.

Many of the respondents used a less diplomatic language: "Are they idiots or what that they cannot make their own decision?"one of the interviewees asked himself a rhetorical question.

"They earn so much money so they should at least be responsible for themselves," another one suggested.

To obey or not to obey?

People who care about discipline suggested that obeying the dictate may not only be based on principle reasons but also on the practical ones.

"I have given my vote to my party and therefore I want them to vote unanimously," a respondent suggested.

"If everyone decided as they liked, it would create one big mess. And then it would be more likely that people vote only based on the future potential of getting a golden parachute," another respondent said.

Men slightly outnumber women when it comes to the support for the more disciplined behavior in the election day: 22 per cent against 20 per cent.

Comparing the three regions, Prague seems to be the bastion of the party discipline believers with 24 per cent of those asked saying they wished party memebrs respected given guidances in the presidential election, more than anywhere else but still only a fraction of the 1050 respondents that participated in the survey.

22 per cent of Bruntál´s inhabitants hold the same view as Praguers. 

On the opposite side of the spectrum is Brno with only 17 per cent of people there supporting the idea that the party line overrides individual preferences as opposed to 73 per cent of respondents who said that the president should be elected based on the free will of the members of both chambers of the parliament.


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Zdroj: ČTK
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