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Ex-minister Ruml seeks political comeback, may run for Senate

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Plzen, West Bohemia, April 10 (CTK) – Jan Ruml, former Czech post-communist interior minister and senator, seeks political comeback after a 14-year pause, wanting to run in the autumn Senate elections on behalf of the Pirate party, he told CTK on Tuesday.

Ruml, 65, is a “registered supporter” of the Pirates, not a member of the party.

He wants to run in the Rokycany ward, west Bohemia, where he is the Pirates’ only nominee for the Senate post.

To become an official candidate, he needs to gain support of a majority of Pirate members in West Bohemia in an internal online vote due next week.

“Democratic forces have received a thrashing. It is necessary to unite them and continue the struggle,” Ruml said, probably alluding to recent election successes of ANO and the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), which some observers call populist.

He said he has never completely abandoned public life since his departure from the Senate in 2004.

“I was giving lectures and attended discussion meetings,” Ruml said.

“The ideas we were fighting for in opposition to communism and which I subsequently promoted in my capacity as interior minister in the 1990s are gradually fading away. I would like to fight for the return of the ideals. Democratic forces should unite and rely on each other,” Ruml said.

If Ruml failed to win the online primaries, he would not be fielded as a candidate. The Pirates would either seek another candidate or give up fielding one in the Rokycany ward, Lukas Barton, the party’s leader in West Bohemia, told CTK.

Ruml, a dissident under the communist regime, is a well-known figure of the Czechoslovak and Czech politics of the 1990s. A former interior minister for the Civic Democrats (ODS), he assisted in the ODS’s rift in 1997 and the birth of a splinter party, the Freedom Union, which became defunct in the 2000s.

He was a senator for the Prague ward in 1998-2004, the last four years holding the post of senate deputy head.

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