Tattooed artist runs for Czech president

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Associated Press

Posted on January 9, 2013 at 4:34 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 9 at 5:05 AM

PRAGUE (AP) — An opera composer and painter tattooed from head to toe is running in a surprising third place ahead of this week's Czech presidential elections.

Vladimir Franz 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.

Some have a nickname for Franz: 'Avatar.' And during a televised debate a caller compared him to "an exotic creature from Papua New Guinea."

But he's not short of admirers in a country where voters are increasingly tired of politicians they say are corrupt and failing to deliver on years of promises, more than two decades after the fall of communism.

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