Monday, 20 November 2017

Former PM Topolánek wants to run for president

ČTK |
6 November 2017

Prague, Nov 5 (CTK) - Former prime minister Mirek Topolanek (right-wing Civic Democrats, ODS) wants to run for Czech president, but he still needs to win the required support from lawmakers by the deadline that expires on Tuesday, he told CTK on Sunday.

Topolanek said he wants to ask senators from five groups including the ODS to support his presidential candidacy.

To become an official candidate, a personality needs support from at least 10 senators or 20 lower house deputies or 50,000 citizens.

Topolanek said he decided to run for president because of the power pact between incumbent President Milos Zeman and ANO movement leader Andrej Babis.

Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek only said Topolanek had the right to run for president.

Zeman entrusted Babis with forming a government, though Babis had not secured a majority support in parliament for his government. Zeman said the minority government could rule the country even without parliament’s support.

Topolanek told public Czech Television (CT) that the situation after the general election is not developing in accordance to the constitution and a strong political candidate for president is needed.

He said none of the other contestants is "a strong political candidate who would undoubtedly cope with the post."

One of the favourites of the presidential election, Science Academy former head Jiri Drahos, took a rather sceptical view of Topolanek’s candidacy.

"Now yet another former prime minister, Mirek Topolanek, is going to save us, according to his words against Zeman," Drahos said, referring to the fact that Zeman was prime minister, too, and hinting at the fact that both men seemed to be involved in scandals.

Czech media started speculating about his candidacy in the last few days. Topolanek said he made the decision last Tuesday.

ODS chairman Petr Fiala said Topolanek is a serious candidate who understands foreign policy.

Fiala did not say whether the party’s lawmakers would support Topolanek’s candidacy.

The ODS has 25 lower house deputies and 10 senators. Topolanek was a senator for a long time himself.

Topolanek was ODS leader from 2002 to 2010, prime minister in 2006-09 and senator in 1996-2004.

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