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Czech News in English » News » Politics » Heger may be Czech TOP 09's rising star

Heger may be Czech TOP 09’s rising star

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Prague, Oct 22 (CTK) – Senior officials of the Czech opposition TOP 09 are trying to find a replacement for its outgoing leader Karel Schwarzenberg, whose role may be partly played by former health minister Leos Heger, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes Thursday.

Having a charm with which to attract young voters and to be a quiet opposite of the expected future party leader Miroslav Kalousek, this is what is being sought by the TOP 09 officials, MfD.

Some of the conservative TOP 09 officials have started to ask Heger to assume the role, it adds.

The influential TOP 09 Prague branch started insisting on Heger after its head Jiri Koubek said he would not run for the post of first deputy chairman of the party, MfD writes.

Heger was the longest-serving health minister after the fall of the Communist regime in 1989, having worked in the centre-right government of Peter Necas (Civic Democratic Party, ODS) between 2010 and 2013.

Heger said that if elected, he would stress the social dimension of policy more than before.

“Sometimes it is better to do some things stepwise, not to implement them by force,” Heger is quoted as saying.

“When we increased the fees for the stay in hospital from 60 to 100 crowns a day, all of them were eventually cancelled,” Heger said.

“Now I would proceed with more caution,” he added.

This is one of the reasons why a part of TOP 09 would like to see the doctor, now 67, in a senior post, MfD writes.

“Some TOP 09 members are promoting me, asking me to consider it [the election for the party’s first deputy chairman],” Heger said.

“True, I may represent a slight opposite to the very resolute leader Kalousek. He will certainly be it,” he added.

However, Heger eventually decided only to run for the post of a “regular” deputy chairman, MfD writes.

Heger highlighted a different candidate, it adds.

“Kalousek will want to have Marek Zenisek as a man beside him,” MfD writes.

According to some TOP 09 members, Zenisek may address the type of voters who are similar to those attracted by Schwarzenberg, it adds.

Like him, he specialises in foreign political issues and has gained a good reputation at the OSCE negotiations, MfD writes.

For pro-Western voters, he has a positive point as he is one of the four Czechs blacklisted by Russian President Vladimir Putin, MfD writes.

Aged 37, Zenisek may rejuvenate the party, it adds.

Age is one of the problems, Heger said.

“In the party board, there must be the atmosphere to attract young people who are in the regions,” he added.

“Or else, TOP 09 will get old and have no chance of keeping its position of a parliamentary party,” Heger said.

TOP 09 is losing its voters. According to the latest poll, it would be only elected by 6.5 percent of Czechs now, while two years ago, it received 12 percent of the vote in the general election.

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