Sunday, 20 April 2014

TOP 09 to stress clash with President Zeman in campaign

20 August 2013

Vienna, Aug 19 (CTK) - Clash with Czech President Milos Zeman and his attempted abuse of the constitution will be the main issue of the election campaign of the conservative TOP 09, party leader Karel Schwarzenberg told the Austrian weekly Profil out Monday.

Schwarzenberg said parliamentary democracy in the Czech Republic should be defended.

"Clash with Zeman and his attempt at abusing the constitution will be the central point," Schwarzenberg replied to the question of what issues he would present in the election campaign.

After the Chamber of Deputies decides on its dissolution by the end of August, which is widely expected, an early election will be held, probably in late October.

"At first, we wanted to launch a European election campaign, but now the defence of parliamentary democracy is the issue. In fact, the republic is the issue. However, how comes that it should be me who is to defend the republican constitution?" said Schwarzenberg, head of one of the oldest Czech and Austrian aristocratic families.

Schwarzenberg went on to comment on the latest scandals in the Czech Republic and Austria, including the one brought about the fall of prime minister Petr Necas in mid-June.

"I feel sorry for Petr Necas. Did you see the photo of the head of his office? He used to be a model pupil who failed to grasp what kind of temptations await him outside the school. When he was confronted with them as an adult man, he was helpless," said Schwarzenberg, a former deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister in the Necas government (2010-2013).

Necas was forced to resign over a bribery and spying scandal implicating Jana Nagyova, head of his office, with whom he has a love affair.

Schwarzenberg said he believed that corruption was more widespread in the Czech Republic than in Austria because in the former country, it occurred "more shamelessly."

He said the corruption cases in Austria had revealed that the country "is not anchored in the Western camp," but in Central Europe, along with Czechs, Slovaks, Poles and Hungarians.

"Despite their long-lasting efforts, the Habsburgs never managed to implement the Swiss rules in Austria," said Schwarzenberg, who has not only Czech, but also Swiss citizenship and who emigrated to Austria after the 1948 Communist coup and stayed there until the 1989 overthrow of the Communist regime.

In the interview, Schwarzenberg spoke critically about senior Austrian politicians. He said Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger was not interested enough in the post.

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