>Czech elections bring modest harvest of billboards

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With regional, local and parliamentary elections every four years and Senate elections every two, there’s pretty much always an election campaign in the offing in Czech Republic. So, although, it probably doesn’t seem to interest the electorate too much, for anyone who cares there are an emerging crop of campaign billboards about.

Most major parties are gearing up for the November Senate elections, which will have some consequence for the governing coalition’s plans to change the electoral law for which they would need a two thirds majority in upper and lower houses of parliament. In these French style two-round, first-past-the-post votes – characterized by derisory turnout – most parties now know they have to wage a candidate-centred, localized campaigns. The Czech Social Democrat are hoping to make inroads in Brno with a campaign centring on local health and transport issues although in the district where my parents-in-law live, their candidate Miloš Janeček (a surgeon, of course – no end of MDs in Czech politics) promises only very bathetically to ‘put right what I can’.

Meanwhile outside the local supermarket Christian Democrat regional governor for South Moravia, Stanislav Juránek, is all smiles wishing everyone happy holidays from a billboard , whose evocation of the golden corn of the Moravian countryside at harvest time echoes a beer advert. A poster in town told me he is also inviting citizens to drop in for coffee and chat with him about regional issues in a weekly event at local café.. The Christian Democrats, a minor party with some pressing problems of identity and strategy, are clearly hoping that he can hold on to one regional governor’s post they currently hold.

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