Prague, Czech Republic – Former anti-Communist dissident, playwright and head of state Vaclav Havel is the most popular President in modern Czech history, according to a recent poll.
Based on the results from a public survey conducted by the STEM/MARK agency, Vaclav Havel is the best president the Czech Republic has had since the fall of communism in 1989.
Around 55% of respondents claimed the former playwright and human rights icon, who passed away in 2011, was the best President, with only 18% of them saying he was the worst one and 17% putting him in second place. Havel, the last President of Czechoslovakia and first President of the newly-formed Czech Republic (1993-2003), was most notably praised for his concern for and interest in Czech citizens’ problems.
Vaclav Klaus, who succeeded to Havel in the Prague Castle after serving as Prime Minister in the 1990’s, was considered the best president by 14% of respondents and second best by 58% of them. His son, Vaclav Klaus Jr., a former member of the center-right ODS party, recently launched his own political party.
Current President Milos Zeman (since 2013), a highly divisive but influential figure in Czech politics who was also Prime Minister from 1998 to 2002, was voted best head of state by 21% of respondents, second best by 15% of them and the worst one by a majority of Czechs polled (54%). The main pitfalls of Zeman, according to Czech citizens, are his way of representing the country abroad, his handling of domestic political disputes and his way of acting in public.
More than 10% of respondents drew a blank and said they didn’t know which one of the three Czech Presidents in modern history to choose.
According to the STEM/MARK poll, responses clearly reflect generational and educational gaps: younger and more educated Czechs are more likely to vote for Havel as the best President, while less educated and older generations will usually prefer Zeman. As many as 74% of respondents aged from 18 to 29 have chosen Havel, who nevertheless came at the third and last place among people aged above 60.