published: 08.10.2013, 18:01 | updated: 08.10.2013 18:07:01
Prague/Brno/Ostrava - Negative campaigning started 17 days before the October 25-26 early election with billboards ridiculing two top representatives of Czech Social Democrats (CSSD), party leader Bohuslav Sobotka and first deputy chairman Michal Hasek.
The billboards appeared near the D1 motorway in Brno and in Ostrava.
Hasek said he wanted to take legal action.
Other billboards attack food mogul Andrej Babis's ANO (Yes) movement and the Party of Citizens' Rights - the Zemanites (SPOZ).
Six critical billboards were posted near the motorway in the Brno region. Most of them feature a black silhouette of a head and the caption "A chatterbox who makes, but does not fulfil promises; An idler who failed to attend 77 percent of parliamentary votes; An adulterer who paid his lover from public money," with the question "Who is it?"
One of the billboards features the portrait of South Moravia regional governor Hasek, notorious for absences from parliamentary votes.
"I have never acknowledged negative, mudslinging and false personal campaigns. I feel sorry that someone is using them in south Moravia," Hasek said, adding that he was about to take legal steps against the campaign's orchestrators.
Today's edition of the daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) said most of the billboard areas targeting Hasek belonged to the A. C. E. Media firm and the billboards were paid by a foreign client.
Sobotka said he would not take any legal action.
Sobotka is depicted with the miner's helmet and lamp. The caption says: "I know how to do things! I have been working hard in parliament since early on."
This is a not very veiled reference to Sobotka having been a member of parliament since the age of 24 years. The billboards include a CSSD logo.
The mudslinging also targets Babis who is depicted along with businessman Zdenek Bakala, co-owner of the Paskov mine in the Ostrava region that is likely to be closed, due to which thousands of local jobs are threatened.
The smiling businessmen hug each other, with cigars in their hands.
The ironic caption says: "Through honest work to billions - ANO?"
Another billboard aims at the SPOZ. It depicts the Prague Castle, seat of Czech heads of state, with a red five-pointed star. The caption says: "Something coming again from behind (SPOZA) the Kremlin."
The billboards evidently hints at the Russian links of SPOZ senior officials.
The SPOZ and ANO representatives have said they will not react to the campaign.
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