Prague, Nov 26 (CTK) – MEP Jiri Pospisil, 42, was elected the Czech TOP 09 right-wing party’s new chairman, replacing Miroslav Kalousek, at the party’s election congress on Sunday.
Pospisil was supported by 147 out of the 177 congress delegates who took part in the vote.
His rival candidate, regional politician and businessman Pavel Nemec, 44, failed, receiving only 13 votes.
Kalousek, 56, who headed TOP 09 from 2015, was not defending his post.
Pospisil said he would like to focus primarily on the local elections to be held next year.
He called on the TOP 09 members to offer the election lists of candidates to non-partisan personalities as well.
After his election, Pospisil said he respected the strong mandate he had got from the delegates very much. He again called on them to work hard on the preparation for the local elections.
He said he would like to bring centre-right parties closer, which Kalousek was promoting, and support cooperation within the Democratic Bloc associating MPs of the Civic Democrats (ODS), Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), TOP 09 and the Mayors and Independents (STAN) in the new Chamber of Deputies .
Pospisil did not comment od the question whether he would seek re-election to the EP next year. It is too early for such a decision, he only said.
“TOP 09 has clearly showed that we are a party defending democracy, a pro-European and an anti-populist party,” Pospisil told reporters later.
The delegates did not vote just for his name, but they supported the ideas he would like to defend, he added.
Pospisil also wished the delegates good luck in the election of the other top party officials. However, he did not comment on the candidates for deputy chairpersons
MP Marketa Pekarova Adamova and Karlovy Vary regional branch head Lukas Otys, owner of a French patisserie in Prague centre, are running for for first deputy head.
Kalousek announced shortly after the October 20-21 general election that he would not be defending his chairmanship in reaction due to the party’s poor election results.
TOP 09 gained only 5.3 of the vote, compared to 12 percent in the previous election to the Chamber of Deputies four years ago. It entered the lower house narrowly, mainly thanks to votes from Prague. It has lost 19 mandates and has mere seven in the new 200-seat lower house.
“I congratulate Jiri Pospisil on his election as TOP 09 chairman and wish him all strength and every success,” Kalousek tweeted on Sunday.
ODS chairman Petr Fiala also congratulated Posisil on his election at the TOP O9 helm on social networks.