Whenever national elections commence in any democratic society there always seems to be an onslaught of bizarre and unbelievable candidates that pop out from the woodwork, turning what should be serious debate and discussion on party politics into a giant game of Whac A Mole with serious contenders and a load of mentalists. Whether it be our Monster Raving Looney Party, the smut-star that tried to take on Putin or Donald Trump’s bid to take over the oval office (one of many sideshows from the other side of the Atlantic) there is consistently a wildcard that is regarded by the general populous to be absolutely ludicrous. Well, the Czech Republic hasn’t become an exemption this year as their 2013 Presidential election gets underway. But instead of the wildcard getting briskly set aside and shunned as campaigning reaches its later stages, the electorate has instead embraced the option.
University Lecturer, painter and composer Vladimir Franz is the latest addition to the collection of unlikely figures that reckon they’re capable to taking the reins of an entire country. Franz is a well known figure already in the capital due to his role at Prague’s Academy of Performing Arts – which is steadily growing its popularity in the world of Opera – and more obviously for looking like Sith from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.
Although Franz has confessed that he has no experience in politics, he still maintains strong support from young voters in particular after being strongly encouraged to run by fans who set up a ‘Franz for President’ initiative. A staggering 80,000 people signed the petition for him to run. Franz has little knowledge of economics either but so much has been made of his candidacy that a leading economist has offered services to his campaign out of goodwill. All of his campaign team are volunteers also. It’s been said that Franz’s campaign hasn’t gone underwater purely because the people have lost faith in the Czech government.
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Karel Stratchota, who took a recent school ballot on the election had the following to say about Franz:
“Franz is seen as a candidate who is not tainted by party politics, students look with sympathy at his non-conformity and the way he presents himself.”
Personally, if I was living out in the Czech Republic I’d probably be on board with Franz’s bid too. If the political system is really as bleak as the media and interviews with Czech citizens make it seem to be then yeah, why not, what could possibly go wrong? Aside from the chance he might actually be the monster from Jeepers Creepers. Can’t exactly imagine him kissing babies on the campaign trail but anything could happen if it’s gone this far already. Let the world cower in fear at the demon president! Any opposition would crumble in the wake of his new found power, beast-like wrath and skull crushing lizard tongue… maybe. I just want to see him sat in the UN, hands folded and looking as though he OD’d on that Willy Wonka blueberry gum. That’s all.
Franz is expected to win 11% from the first round of voting on Friday and Saturday which, if it happens, would be a monumental step and increase the attention of his candidacy significantly. However, in spite of his campaign Franz is torn between his new platform and career in composing. Franz has chosen not to attend the world premiere of his new opera in order to participate in the upcoming televised debates.
“For a Czech composer to have a world premiere in the National Theater is something extraordinary. I had to make a choice between a service to the public and the fulfilment of my life-long dream. I’ve made the choice and will be at the debate.”
It’ll be very interesting to see if his progress in the race runs much longer. It’s refreshing to see the Czech public doesn’t really care about Franz’s appearance in all honesty, it wouldn’t go quite so smoothly over here i’m sure. If a wildcard can make the transition to a real underdog then maybe it could go a step further that the world would be in awe of.
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