Tattooed musician sets sights on Czech presidency



Covered in tattoos literally from head to toe - Vladimir Franz is a drama professor, classical composer and more recently, a candidate in upcoming presidential elections in the Czech Republic.

Despite dedicating his life to the arts and having no political track record, some polls put the 53-year-old in third place among nine possible contenders:

SOUNDBITE 1 Vladimir Franz (man) Independent candidate in Czech presidential election. (Czech, 12 secs):

All my life I've used art to answer the kind of questions that preoccupy people and I wondered whether now was the time to use other means to achieve it."

Franz-referred to by some as Avatar - was an instant hit on Facebook and securing the 50,000 signatures needed to throw his hat into the presidential ring.

And his unconventional approach seems to appeal to voters fed up with corrupt politicians and an economy in recession.

SOUNDBITE 2 Lukas Pokorny, (man) Self-employed(Czech, 8 secs):

"Franz is wise and intelligent enough to surround himself with professionals who would advise him well if he was president."

SOUNDBITE 3 Vladimir Blaha, (man) Social worker(Czech, 7 secs):

"Yes, his appearance is a little unusual - it could well create ripples in the Czech Republic as well as abroad.."

Attaching himself neither to the right nor left, Franz simply lists education, tolerance and culture as his priorities:

SOUNDBITE 4 Vladimir Franz (man) Independent candidate in Czech presidential election. (Czech, 11 secs):

"I don't think my tattoos are a handicap - nor an advantage. If people like them, perhaps they serve as a call to greater tolerance.."

Franz stands little chance of making it into the election's second-round run-off -- and eventually unseating two-term head of state Vaclav Klaus.

Even so, this apolitical politician's already added a splash of colour to the election campaign.



Prague, Czech Republic, 8 January 2013 (Source: AFPTV)

- VAR of Vladimir Franz with photographers and journalists at Prague's National Opera House

- VAR of Franz playing the organ in a Catholic church

- CU of Franz giving an interview

SOUNDBITE 1 Vladimir Franz, Vladimir Franz (man) Independent candidate in Czech presidential election

- VAR of Franz official Facebook page for his election campaign

- VAR of photocall with all nine candidates running in the election

- VAR of all nine candidates arriving for a final debate at the University of Prague ahead of the first round of votes

SOUNDBITE 2Lukas Pokorny, (man) Self-employed

SOUNDBITE 3Vladimir Blaha, (man) Social worker

- SHOT of Vladimir Franz with fans and journalists

-VAR of Franz leaving the debate at the University of Prague, and getting into his "Air Franz One" car.

- VAR of Franz supporters handing out flyers at the national opera