Road to presidency goes through Fischer's endorsement
18. 1. 2013 14:07
Unsuccessful candidate Fischer's endorsement will determine result of run-off election
Jan Fischer
Jan Fischer | Foto: Vojtěch Marek

Prague - One week before the run-off presidential election on January 25 and 26, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg is supported by two unsuccessful candidates from the first round: Zuzana Roithova and Premysl Sobotka, the official nominee of the ruling Civic Democratic Party (ODS). However, Roithova and Sobotka won in total less then seven percent of the vote.

The non-parliamentary Green Party also supports the minister's candidacy.

Zeman beats Schwarzenberg in vote, both in 2nd round endorses Karel Schwarzenberg for president

Schwarzenberg's left-wing opponent Milos Zeman enjoys support from the leadership ranks and Senate club of the opposition Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD), whose candidate Jiri Dienstbier came in fourth with 16 percent of the vote in the first round. Nonetheless, it is clear that many of these voters will not give their ballot to Zeman in the run-off. Dienstbier himself had this to say to his supporters after the first round: "Neither of the (run-off) candidates is ideal for me."

This means that Zeman can rely only on a part Dienstbier's votes. And, as in the first round, the left-wing candidate will also get support of Communist Party (KSCM) supporters.

Tana Fischerova said she will not endorse any of the two candidates for the second round.

Fischer's support crucial

The most important endorsement will come from Jan Fischer, who came in third with 16.35 percent of votes, even though he was expected to qualify for the second round with ease by opinion polls in the past months.

On Wednesday, Fischer said that he would not declare his support to one of the two run-off candidates as yet, adding that he will make up his mind shortly before the second round. Fischer has said that neither of the two candidates are politically "independent".

Examples from France, Poland and Slovakia show that run-off elections are often won by the candidate who has managed to obtain support from the contender who came in third in the first round.

In France's 1974 presidential vote, a right-wing presidential candidate, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, came in second in the first round of voting against Socialist Francois Mitterand, but eventually won the run-off election thanks to the support he received from the first round's third place candidate, Jacques Chaban-Delmas.

The situation repeated again in 1981, but this time with Francois Mitterand coming second in the first round only to win the run-off thanks to the support from Communist Georges Marchais and the French Green Party's Brice Lalonde.

The victories of France's Jacques Chirac in 2002 and Francois Hollande in 2012, as well as Slovakia's Ivan Gasparovic in 2004 and Poland's Lech Kaczynski in 2005, also took place largely thanks to the support from the first round's unsuccessful candidates.

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