People perceive former President Miloš Zeman’s work at the Castle negatively, according to a survey by the Center for Public Opinion Research. In all areas examined, critical evaluations prevailed over positive ones. People blame Zeman the most for not caring enough about the seriousness and dignity of his office. Almost three quarters of the respondents think so.
“Compared to previous presidents Václav Havel and Václav Klaus, at the end of their tenure, citizens rated Miloš Zeman better because he was in contact with citizens and knew their problems,” the center said. In other areas, however, Czechs evaluate Zeman worse than his predecessor.
73 percent of respondents blame him for insufficient care for the seriousness and dignity of the office. The survey recorded only a slightly lower proportion of negative responses to the question of how the president acted as an authority among citizens. 67 percent of people evaluate Zeman’s representation of the Czech Republic abroad critically.
More than three-fifths of citizens are not satisfied with the way the former president influenced domestic political life in the Czech Republic. He also earned criticism from 57 percent of respondents for the way he was in contact with citizens and knew their problems.
Relatively most people appreciate how Zeman fulfilled the functions entrusted to him by the Constitution of the Czech Republic, although even on this point negative opinions prevail. On this question, 40 percent of respondents evaluate Zeman positively, while 54 percent of Czechs have the opposite opinion.
Compared to the previous survey from January 2020, Zeman’s rating deteriorated significantly in all parameters. “In all cases, it has reached its most critical form during his entire time in office,” the authors of the survey said. The biggest decline was recorded in the question of how he is in contact with citizens and knows their problems. It is in this area that positive responses always prevailed in previous surveys, but since the last one, their share has dropped by 20 percentage points.
“From the perspective of the entire period of performance of his office, it is possible to state that President Miloš Zeman was evaluated significantly most favorably in January 2016,” noted the statisticians. In the period between 2016 and 2020, Zeman’s rating remained relatively high without significant fluctuations.
According to the authors of the survey, the turn of 2020 and 2021 can be characterized as a key turning point, when Czech society was hit hard by the poorly managed second wave of the covid pandemic, which significantly undermined the relatively high trust in the central institutions headed by the then government.
“The evaluation of Miloš Zeman has always been significantly more polarized than the evaluation of both of his predecessors, while a significant part of his supporters consisted of people who otherwise had a negative view of political institutions,” the statisticians added.
At the same time, they pointed out that at the end of his term of office, Zeman was in all respects better evaluated in Bohemia than in Moravia. This is a relatively significant turnaround compared to the past, when, on the other hand, his support was significantly stronger in Moravia.
Zeman, who has been active in politics since the 1990s, was elected to the highest state office in 2013 in the first direct election of the head of state. He also succeeded five years later. In March of this year, he was replaced at the Castle by Petr Pavel.
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