A competitor for Czech President Zeman

The 64-year-old author and former multimillionaire businessman Michal Horáček officially announced on Thursday that he would run for the office of Czech president. The elections will take place in January 2018. Current president Miloš Zeman has not stated whether he will run for a second term in office. Czech commentators find Horáček competent, if somewhat bland.

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Sme (SK) /

Horáček would be a tough opponent

Michal Horáček is an opponent Zeman would need to take seriously, Sme comments:

“According to one survey Horáček could beat Zeman in the run-off vote. There is talk in Prague about President Zeman having no intention of ending his career with a defeat, and that health issues are prompting him to seriously consider not running for election at all. … In some ways Horáček resembles Slovakia's president Andrej Kiska. Both founded successful companies that they then sold to focus on the things they like doing. And both are interested in occupying the country's highest office. So is the Czech Republic poised for a revolution? So far Horáček hasn't made any mistakes, at any rate. And he doesn't come across as a kind of anti-Zeman. He knows that if he wants to win he must gain the support of quite a few of Zeman's voters.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

Professional but no charisma

Horáček's appearance was highly professional but lacking in authenticity, Hospodářské noviny believes:

“Horáček was extremely pensive in yesterday's presentation. He stressed the decline in the office of the president in recent years, but made a point of not combining his comments with criticism of Zeman in particular. Horáček set new standards. He spoke openly about his past, his bank balance, his health. That's like a challenge to Zeman, who's never done anything of the kind. Nevertheless Horáček comes across as a little artificial and unnatural, which is unusual for the Czech Republic. Even for Horáček, 'how' he says something is more important than 'what' he says. This 'how' ultimately decides who will be president. The path to the president's office is above all the path to oneself. And every candidate must find that out for himself.”