Czech party’s EU campaign ‘not negative’, it says


The centre-right Civic Democrat party (ODS) of Czech Prime Minister-in-resignation Mirek Topolánek has refuted accusations that it is conducting a negative campaign against its Social Democratic (CSSD) opponents. But ODS posters clearly depict CSSD leaders as intending to “do harm and scaremonger”.

The European Parliament (EP) election campaign of the senior party in the outgoing Czech government, the Civic Democrats (ODS), is “confrontational” but “not negative”, party chairman Mirek Topolánek and election leader Jan Zahradil MEP said yesterday (5 May), quoted by ?TK. 

Nevertheless, CSSD chairman Jiri Paroubek and Central Bohemian Governor David Rath (CSSD) clearly feature on some ODS billboards together with the slogan ‘My programme: To do harm and scaremonger!’ 

Another poster depicts a cheerful Topolánek alongside a gloomy-looking Paroubek, together with the text, “confident and not scary”. 

The Czech Republic was thrown into political turmoil last March when the minority government led by Topolánek was ousted by a no-confidence vote in parliament (EURACTIV 25/03/09). A political deal struck in the aftermath of the vote saw a cabinet of mainly unaffiliated experts asked to complete the Czech EU Presidency in the first half of 2009, with early elections set to be held in October. 

According to a STEM poll, released at the end of April, CSSD would get 23 percent of the vote and ODS 21 percent in the EP elections. 

In another public appearance, Topolánek said he would be running to become his country’s prime minister again. The daily Pravo reported him as saying that he expected ODS to win 40 percent of the vote in October. 

The Czech media are also speculating that Topolánek’s name could be put forward as the next EU energy commissioner. 

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