Thursday, 17 April 2014

Some 130 public figures endorse Schwarzenberg for president

3 January 2013

Prague, Jan 2 (CTK) - More than 130 personalities yesterday released their joint appeal for the election of Karel Schwarzenberg as Czech president because they consider him the only candidate to follow up the legacy of former Czechoslovak and Czech president Vaclav Havel

The authors want to spread the petition, named Epiphany Appeal, among voters until the election whose first round is due January 11-12.

Schwarzenberg, 75, foreign minister of noble descent is the presidential candidate of the junior ruling TOP 09 of which he is the chairman. He does not rank among the election favourites.

The favourites are former prime ministers Milos Zeman and Jan Fischer, according to public opinion polls.

The appeal in support of Schwarzenberg's candidacy was presented by musician and former minister Michael Kocab, lawyer and former minister Jan Ruml, sociologist Ivan Gabal, Havel's former spokesman Ladislav Spacek, the late Havel's brother Ivan and others personalities.

Gabal said their step is not a part of Schwarzenberg's election campaign. It is an independent civic initiative, said Kocab.

The petition's signatories include Czech-born U.S. film director Milos Forman, Czech-born actor Jan Triska, who also lives in the USA, popular actor and screenwriter Zdenek Sverak, conductor Libor Pesek, bishop Vaclav Maly, diplomat Martin Palous and Olympics-winning gymnast Vera Caslavska.

Ruml admitted that Schwarzenberg's "certain handicap" is that he has been a member of the present cabinet.

"Nevertheless, we took his whole life into account and also the fact that he presents himself as the only authentic successor of Vaclav Havel in the political as well as human areas," Ruml said.

The appeal's authors say Schwarzenberg is a man of experience, educated in law, a former long-standing collaborator and friend of Havel and a connoisseur of Czech history, who is devoted to international cooperation and is capable of presenting a different opinion, even if an isolated one.

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