Svejnar: I am ahead in opinion polls

Ian Willoughby from Radio Praha had a chance to make an interview with Jan Svejnar recently. We bring you the shortened version.

What do you have to offer that the incumbent Vaclav Klaus doesn’t have to offer?

“Well, there is the fact that I am above politic parties. The president here should be politically independent. I am. I have both the local and the international experience, and obviously in the world of globalisation broad international experience is important.

“I am looking more forward than backward. I pretty much do hold strong views that are aligned with those of the Western world, be it in the area of global warming, or the active role that the Czech Republic can play in the EU. So there are major differences.”

Given yours relative outsider status – and Mr Klaus’s ultimate insider status – isn’t it a disadvantage for Jan Svejnar that when it comes to horse-trading for votes, he simply has less to offer?

“You’re right, I’m not offering that. I’m offering vision, I’m offering my skills, my expertise. I believe that the parties that are supporting me – and that’s my advantage, I’m supported by a significant part of the political spectrum, from the left to the right – will do whatever is needed in good old politics, where I have no comparative advantage whatsoever. I’m focusing really on ideas, and where the country should go.”

All things considered, how does the candidate himself rate his chances?

“One has to take the dynamics into account. When I started a couple of months ago I was obviously the outsider both in opinion polls and among the members of Parliament who are going to vote. Now I am the one who is if anything ahead in the opinion polls. Many people in Parliament are seriously considering voting for me, so I think that the chances now are about fifty-fifty.”

The original article is here


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