Vladimir Franz is a Czech composer, painter, and professor at Prague's Academy of Performing Arts. He was also a candidate for his nation's presidency, one of the nine people on the ballot for the election that was contested this weekend. None of this is particularly remarkable, especially in a country formerly led by playwright and poet Vaclav Havel. Franz's appearance, on the other hand, is worth noting:
Franz, who ran for office on a platform focused on ending corruption in politics, has a fairly Gheorghian response to those taken aback by his unusual appearance. "A tattoo is a sign of a free will and that does not harm the freedom of anyone else," he explains. I'm sure our good friends in the GOP hate him already.
After polling a strong third in the days before the election, Franz faded to fifth with 6.8% of the vote. A pair of pro-EU candidates, Milos Zeman and Karel Schwarzenberg, topped the field to advance to a runoff held in late January. While the post is largely ceremonial, the Czech President does play a role in foreign affairs and appoints central bank officials.
The community of Gheorghies is saddened by Franz's loss, mostly because we're confident that had we known of him earlier, we could have brought our significant influence in Eastern Europe to bear. At the very least, we could have lifted him to the runoff. We just sent a Doofus to Europe - imagine what he could have done to rally support for Professor Franz.