All three highest constitutional officials gave their Christmas or New Year’s speech to the nation. The first to speak was President Miloš Zeman on December 26. Then, on January 1, shortly after noon Senate President Miloš Vystrčil gave his speech while Prime Minister Petr Fiala addressed the Czechs on the same day at 8 pm. The Prime Minister achieved the highest viewership with 1.48 million spectators only on TV channel ČT1.
Petr Fiala’s speech also recorded the greatest attention on social networks. According to our analysis, within 24 hours of the speech being broadcast, twice as many contributions reacted to Fiala as a week earlier to the Christmas message of President Miloš Zeman. The President of the Senate Miloš Vystrčil attracted the least attention on the networks – his speech is mentioned by only a tenth of all users commenting on the New Year’s messages.
The sentiment turned out the same for the President, the Prime Minister, and the President of the Senate. For all three, critical comments prevail over positive ones. Among Petr Fiala’s critics, SPD leader Tomio Okamura had the greatest influence on the networks. He posted on his Facebook profile his statement given to CNN Prima News and ČT24, in which he described Fiala’s speech as superficial. Over a thousand users subsequently shared Okamura’s condemning posts. Right after Tomio Okamura, the most significant impact on the networks was Petr Fiala’s criticism published by former PM Andrej Babiš and ANO leader Alena Schillerová on their Facebook profiles.
However, the comments on Miloš Zeman’s Christmas message were also critical, surprisingly even among his supporters. They most often blamed him for supporting compulsory vaccination against Covid-19. On the contrary, he earned praise mainly for calling on the government to reject the so-called Green Deal.
The criticism aimed at Miloš Vystrčil then concerned rather his general political views (e.g., support of Taiwan, which, however, was not mentioned in the speech). Negative comments on Vystrčil were severely stirred up by a Facebook post of a server Parlamentní listy with the information that the Institute of Freedom and Democracy called for Vystrčil‘s removal from the Senate for his adoration of the European Union.