Days after losing to Miloš Zeman in presidential elections, academic Jiří Drahoš says he may remain in politics. The political novice, who received 2.7 million votes for 48.6 percent of the total, told Czech Television on Monday that he was considering founding a new party and also looking at a possible Senate run. I discussed the 68-year-old’s potential future with political scientist Petr Just.
“The atmosphere today more favours populist and protest movements.
“What I see as a better form of future engagement for him is either to join an existing political party – there are several that come to my mind, the parties that supported him: the Christian Democrats, TOP 09 or the Mayors and Independents – or to work as an independent politician, such as running for the Senate, where you don’t need to have a political party behind you.
“Of course he can mix these two forms and run as an independent for the Senate elections but be backed by, for example, the Christian Democrats, TOP 09 or some other party that support him.”
Some might suggest that he’s not a natural politician, that [during campaigning] he wasn’t a great speaker or debater and sometimes looked uncomfortable. Is he a good fit for politics?
“There are a lot of politicians who are acknowledged for their rhetoric and charisma, which we generally expect that politicians would have.
“But on the other hand there are a lot of politicians who have succeeded without having such characteristics.
“Everyone who enters politics will have to learn political skills. It’s a challenge for everybody who decides to enter politics.
“When Mr. Drahoš first made public appearances, many people doubted that he could attract large crowds.
“But then during the campaign he was able to get more into the way a political candidate should speak, should look.
“And although he was trailing behind Mr. Zeman, he was able improve a bit.
“So I believe that if he decides to remain in politics, he would also continue improving those skills.”
Is there a danger that Mr. Drahoš might interpret the vote that he received at the weekend as a vote for him, not a vote against Mr. Zeman? Some people say the support he received wasn’t down to who he was – it was just because he wasn’t Mr. Zeman.
“This is something he should be very cautious about.
“Because you are right, many of the votes, approximately half of the votes that went to Drahoš, were more anti-Zeman votes and not much pro-Drahoš votes.
“He should be aware of this fact and he should not rely 100 percent on the idea that there are more than two and a half million people for whom he would be an ideal candidate.
“But if he decides to run for the Senate and if he chooses a district where he succeeded in the first round – where we can see a more positive approach from voters, when they vote on who they like most, not in an negative way – then he may be successful.”