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This is Vladimir Franz, the heavily tattooed Czech presidential candidate

Posted By KATE STANTON, UPI.com   |   Jan. 11, 2013 at 12:45 PM   |   Comments

Jan. 11 (UPI) -- It's hard to imagine a heavily tattooed candidate like Vladimir Franz doing well in the United States, where most politicians are expected to present the most boring version of themselves to the public. But the 53-year-old drama professor and composer's "Avatar"-like facial tattoos haven't prevented him from becoming the Czech Republic's third most popular presidential candidate.

According to ABC News, Franz has earned a "respectable" 11 percent of the popular vote running as an independent. The elections begin this weekend, with a runoff to take place January 25 and 26.

"My tattoos are my private little garden. They are not a handicap, they are added value," Franz said of the markings that cover his whole head and 90 percent of his body.

"Elections are not a beauty contest. It is all about tolerance," he said.

According to Global Post, Franz's probably won't win the election, but a third place finish would be impressive for a candidate with a meager campaign budget of $25,000 and a staff made up mostly of volunteers.

Franz is particularly popular with young people, especially high schoolers not yet old enough to vote. The Guardian reported Wednesday that Franz won a mock presidential election at 441 Czech high schools with more than 40 percent of the vote.

"[Young people] look with sympathy at his nonconformity," an education campaigner told the Guardian.

Check out Franz's Facebook page for more photos.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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