Prague, Czech Republic – According to a survey conducted in June by the STEM agency and released on Wednesday, Zuzana Čaputová is the most popular foreign politician among Czechs.
Slovakia’s first female president, who officially took office in June, received 71% of positive opinions among Czech respondents. Her popularity in neighbouring Czech Republic was visible in the cheering crowds that welcomed her for her first official visit in Prague nearly two months ago (see picture above).
During the last presidential election, many Czechs disappointed with their current leadership, including controversial head of state Milos Zeman, were jokingly calling for Caputova to become their president as well – while another recurring joke among liberal and anti-government circles consists in urging Slovakia to “take back” current Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, born in Bratislava in what was then Czechoslovakia.
Interestingly, while they’re known for being one of the most secular countries in Europe, if not the world, Czechs have elected Pope Francis as the second most popular foreign figure in the poll, the Pontiff receiving 63% of positive views – contrary to predecessor Pope Benedict who, ten years ago, received a much lower rating.
Both Hungarian PM Viktor Orban (48%) and Theresa May (47%) – who was still British Prime Minister when the survey was taken – were viewed favourably by nearly half of the Czech population.
French President Emmanuel Macron ranks as the fifth most popular foreign politician in the Czech Republic with a 40% approval rate, slightly ahead of Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (36%) and Poland’s de-facto leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski (35%).
At the opposite end of the ranking, Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose country is currently embroiled in a bitter dispute with Prague, is the least popular foreign politician among those surveyed, with only 18% of Czechs giving him a favourable rating.
The third least popular figure is outgoing EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (25%) – not too much of a surprise considering Czechs’ deeply-entrenched Euroscepticism.
Although one of the most popular foreign politicians in the Czech Republic until 2013, German chancellor Angela Merkel’s popularity took a hit in recent years and is now seen in one of the least favourable lights (26%), two points ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump (24%), the second least popular among Czechs.
As a matter of comparison, the popularity of predecessor Barack Obama fluctuated between 71% and 54% during his two terms as U.S. President.
According to a previous STEM poll, the three most popular politicians in the Czech Republic are current Prime Minister Andrej Babis, head of the Pirate Party Ivan Bartos and leader of the far-right SPD party Tomio Okamura.