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Zeman moves ČR in unfortunate direction, rival Fischer says

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Prague, Oct 7 (CTK) – Incumbent President Milos Zeman is a skilful politician, but he has been moving the Czech Republic in a direction that Czech allies do not understand, presidential candidate Pavel Zeman has told CTK, mentioning Zeman’s support for Russia and China.

Fischer, former Czech ambassador in France and aide to late President Vaclav Havel, said his stance on many issues is opposite to that of Zeman’s.

He challenged Zeman’s friendly position on Russia and the profits that Zeman promised the Czech Republic would have from closer ties with China.

Fischer criticised Zeman and his office for their support for Liglass Trading, a controversial Czech firm that wanted to win a huge contract for the construction of hydroelectric power plants in Kyrgyzstan.

If he won the direct presidential election in January, Fischer would try to help make Czechs trust the European Union.

He said he considers NATO the guarantee of the country’s security. The Czech Republic should meet its pledge to give 2 percent of GDP on defence, he added.

The Czech Republic promised to adopt euro as its currency and nothing should change about it, but the date of euro adoption must be thoroughly considered because the step need not have positive impact on all, Fischer said.

His possible first presidential foreign trips would be to Bratislava and Berlin and he would mainly visit other EU countries, the United States and Israel, he said.

Migrants who want to resettle in Europe should be subject to very strict criteria – outside Europe, if possible, he said.

“Some parameters of the migrant wave looked like a gold rush. We must be very strict here,” Fischer said, mentioning a quick deportation procedure of the rejected refugees and common protection of EU’s outer borders.

Should the situation be underestimated, Europe might face a strong wave of xenophobia and hatred, he said.

If elected, Fischer would order a check of the amnesty that former President Vaclav Klaus declared in 2013. Such a thing should not repeat because the rule of law seemed to be pushed aside, he said, indicating that some of the suspects should not have been amnestied about the amnesty.

Klaus was criticised for granting amnesty to controversial entrepreneurs who were suspected of extensive frauds, including his friends from the economic sphere from the 1990s.

Fischer officially announced that he is running for the head of state on Thursday.

According to some commentators, his candidacy may weaken other candidates who want to replace Zeman, namely Jiri Drahos and Michal Horacek. Fischer rejected this view. He said the context of the presidential election is still unclear. The result of the forthcoming general election and the position of undecided voters remain unknown, he added.

Fischer said his strength is that he knows well how the president is to cooperate with the parliament, government, the National Security Council and other bodies.

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