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Respekt: TOP 09 should get rid of Kalousek

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Prague, Oct 13 (CTK) – The opposition TOP 09, whose head Karel Schwarzenberg, 77, will not seek re-election at the November congress, should get rid of its other founder, Miroslav Kalousek, if it wants to save the declining Czech right, the latest issue of weekly Respekt writes in its editorial.
Respekt writes that TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats (ODS), now in opposition, too, whose members were the main force behind the post-communist reforms, would acquire together less than the Communists (KSCM) if a general election were held now according to public opinion polls, and this is no momentary swing.
In addition, the coalition potential of the civic right has never been worse than now, and all this is happening at a time when it is in opposition where all important parties have always gained popularity, Respekt writes.
The quality of the programme of the right is about the same as it used to be and from the point of view of ideas and governance abilities, it is not worse than its competitors. But people have probably simply ceased to believe it, Respekt writes.
If the ODS continues to deal with the loss of trust betting on a policy typical of extreme parties, an expression of which is confrontation with partner countries in the EU, TOP 09 will remain the sole representative of the moderate civic right, Respekt writes.
It writes that the ODS was a child of a group of liberal economists who wre connected by an idea (pushing through capitalism without attributes), the inception of TOP 09 was entirely different.
It was invented by Kalousek and the credit and charisma of Schwarzenberg, coming from an old aristocratic family who spent the communist era in exile, Respekt writes.
It writes that the party was long refusing to admit more new members not to allow them to outvote the founders and introduce different opinions to the party. This could function as long as Schwarzenberg’s charisma was present in the elections.
Kalousek, former chairman of the Christian-Democrats (KDU-CSL), founded TOP 09 with that he will take over from Schwarzenberg in the future and will control it according to his own ideas only. Schwarzenberg supported this scenario and he kept saying Kalousek deserves this as if not what the two of them lent life to, but Kalousek’s interests were at stake.
Precisely this confusion of his colleague’s merits and interests and the needs of a live organisation is the major problem of Schwarzenberg’s legacy and a burden he is passing on to his fellow party members, Respekt writes.
The current political situation differs form that in 2009 when TOP 09 was being born. The main novelty is the great success of Andrej Babis, head of the ANO movement, deputy prime minister and finance minister, and the total failure of the parties that say they stand on the right, Respekt writes.
It writes that Czech voters want the political establishment to leave and they long for a change which they see in Babis, even though he entered politics with a number of handicaps.
He is suspected of cooperation with the StB secret police during the communist regime, he is in an unusually big conflict of interest owning Agrofert Holding, he has no programme, he often talks nonsense, he makes a ridiculous impression, he behaves like a despot, Respekt writes.
Does TOP 09 want to beat Babis by sending to its head a man (Kalousek) with a very problematic reputation that symbolises the past of Czech politics, the past which the voters of the right are fleeing? Respekt asks.
Kalousek is an adroit speaker and a political practician whom hardly anyone can beat. But he is not a leader who could lend to the right the moral ethos that it always had, mainly thanks to the former dissidents, and that it needs to regain, Respekt writes.
The worst is that Babis, with whom Kalousek leads personally-tinted disputes filled with emotions and offences, will always be able to use him as a stick against TOP 09 as a whole with regard to his long political career, Respekt writes.
TOP 09 should revise its personnel policy and seek new people, who are intelligent, who are convincing experts, impeccable, of whom no one can say that they personify the corrupt past. One of them is Ludek Niedermayer, leader of the party’s European Parliament list of candidates, Respekt writes.

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