Although Canada’s Parliament got a lot younger after the last election, there still aren’t too many politicians in this country who sport tattoos, Patrick Brazeau’s tribal tats and Ruth Ellen Brosseau’s inked feet notwithstanding. But in the Czech Republic, a man covered from head to toe in body art could possibly become the next president—though it would take a stunning upset for him to do so.
As The Associated Press reports, “Vladimir Franz, an opera composer and painter, seems the most unlikely of candidates for a prestigious post previously held by beloved playwright-dissident Vaclav Havel and Vaclav Klaus, a professor credited with plotting the economic transition from communism to a free market.” And yet, he’s currently polling at 11 per cent and is extremely popular amongst young people. “In a mock presidential election at 441 high schools across the country a month before the vote, Franz won by a landslide, garnering more than 40 percent of some 60,000 votes,” as per the AP.
Not only does the 53-year-old Franz teach students at Prague’s Academy of Performing Arts, he also happens to be a pretty successful composer, currently directing a performance of “War with the Newts” at the prestigious Prague National Theater. That said, despite obtaining over 88,000 signatures on his nomination petition, he has only spent $25,000 on his campaign ($0 on campaign posters) and is said to have no true, discernable policies. Furthermore, in a Rob-Fordesque display of neglect of duty, he reportedly skipped out on a presidential debate in order to attend a final rehearsal of his opera. No word as to whether he forced people off a bus to get there, mind you.
Then again, one supposes he could be forgiven for not taking his nomination too seriously. As the AP reports, the Czech presidency is a “largely ceremonial post” which is being determined by popular vote for the very first time. I half-expect Chuck Norris to win in a landslide via write-in on a “Rename the Bridge” platform…