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Czech grey eminence Šlouf, Zeman’s former right hand, dies

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Prague, Feb 16 (CTK) – Czech political lobbyist and grey eminence Miroslav Slouf, former close friend of current President Milos Zeman, died after a long serious illness at the age of 69 on Friday, Slouf’s family told CTK.

Slouf was a member of the Czechoslovak Communist Party (KSC) from the mid-1970s to 1991, he was a member of the Czech communist parliament in 1981-1992 and a member of the Socialist Youth Association (SSM) leadership.

He later joined the Social Democrats (CSSD) and became CSSD chairman Zeman’s aide. He organised the CSSD election campaigns and helped Zeman succeed and form a government in the late 1990s.

In 2003, Zeman failed to be elected president, he retired from politics and later left the CSSD. In 2008, Slouf was one of the founders of the Friends of Milos Zeman group that wanted to return Zeman to public life. Slouf said he helped Zeman in the campaign before the 2013 presidential election. But their friendly relations ended after Zeman was elected president.

Slouf was a controversial figure related to several scandals. He admitted he had contacts with murdered mafia boss Frantisek Mrazek. Former CSSD leader Jiri Paroubek indicated that Slouf as Zeman’s intermediary played a major role in persuading two CSSD MPs to support the right-wing government of Mirek Topolanek (ODS) in 2007. As PM Zeman’s chief aide, Slouf was connected with a plan to discredit then CSSD leading politician Petra Buzkova in 2000.

Slouf was not involved in public life in the past few years anymore. Media reported about his serious health condition in the last few months.

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