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Czech presidential candidates vow to combat graft

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Prague, Dec 31 (CTK) – Changes in law, more ethical behaviour of politicians and the real need to exact law could help combat corruption in the Czech Republic, presidential candidates have told CTK.

President Milos Zeman, who seeks re-election, did not answer the questions.

Most of them believe that the punishment for graft is sufficient.

“It is necessary to improve the methods uncovering corruption and, above all, to insist on prevention,” former Czech Academy of Sciences chairman Jiri Drahos said.

Drahos said the problem should be dealt with by legislation and personal models of senior officials.

“Some people may sneer at the insistence on the moral dimension of public posts, but without this, we can hardly have a better social environment,” he added.

Businessman Michal Horacek said the laws should be valid for all.

“There is strict punishment for corruption now already. Unfortunately, we often see those who observed the rules that they did not succeed, while many who breached the rules escaped a fair punishment,” Horacek said, adding that when it comes to the trust in the state, this situation was untenable.

Doctor Marek Hilser said corruption was a topic he wanted to solve seriously.

It is the most serious social phenomenon undermining the trust in the state and institutions as such. “It can never be eradicated, but it can be reduced, Hilser said.

Former prime minister Mirek Topolanek said he would like to deal with the causes of corruption.

“Corruption is quite clearly caused by a large state agenda, the unclear character of some decisions and, among others, by European subsidies,” Topolanek said.

“The distribution of tremendous sums while the rules are somewhat unclear is a classical opportunity for the emergency of and growth in the classical corruption environment,” he added.

Former head of the Skoda car maker Vratislav Kulhanek, Defence and Security Industry Association President Jiri Hynek and musician Petr Hannig said they considered the punishment sufficient.

Kulhanek said there was an insufficient number of the people convicted of corruption.

Hynek said the court trials had to be accelerated.

“Rather than tougher punishment, the Czech Republic needs exact legislation, responsible work of courts and model behaviour,” Pavel Fischer, a former Czech ambassador to France and Monaco, said.

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