Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Petr Fiala re-elected chairman of right-wing ODS

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Table of Contents

Ostrava, North Moravia, Jan 13 (CTK) – The Czech Civic Democrat (ODS) congress re-elected Petr Fiala to the post the party’s chairman on Saturday.

This result was expected as nobody else was running for chairman at the congress held three months after the general election. All ODS regional branches proposed Fiala for chairman before the congress.

Fiala, 53, received support from about 90 percent of the delegates. Out of 483 valid votes, 451 supported him.

Fiala said he was surprised at such a strong mandate since the party is stabilised and his task is not to save it anymore as its political existence is not at stake anymore.

The ODS is the second strongest party in the lower house of Czech parliament, but it has only 25 MPs in the 200-seat house. The ANO movement of Prime Minister Andrej Babis is the dominant force now, having 78 MPs. The Pirates and the right-wing populist Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) have 22 MPs each.

In the 1990s and the 2000s, the ODS was either the senior ruling party or the strongest opposition party. But its preferences started plummeting and it won only 7.7 percent of the vote in 2013. Fiala was elected ODS leader in January 2014 to reverse the trend. Last autumn, the ODS won 11.3 percent of the vote.

When addressing the congress before the vote on his re-election, Fiala promised to make the ODS a “strong and reliable reform right-wing party” again and win 50 percent more voters in the next general election than the party gained last autumn.

Fiala said he would ask voters for a strong mandate to form a government after the next general election.

He said the ODS would be against social experiments and the swelling of the state.

Fiala told journalists that wants the ODS to be a party based on democratic values and a specific programme that offers solutions of the problems people have.

He named fight against red tape, security of the country and investment into education as the ODS priorities.

“Our goal is to strengthen traditional politics, decent politics, normal politics. Our goal is to strengthen the Czech right wing,” he told the press conference, also referring to Babis who presents his ANO as a project opposing traditional parties.

In his speech at the ODS congress, Fiala called on Czechs to take part in first round of the direct presidential election.

He warned against the re-election of incumbent President Milos Zeman already in the first round. “Prevent a surprise in the first round,” he appealed on voters.

The two most successful candidates will meet in a second round scheduled for January 26-27.

Fiala said President Zeman keeps dividing society and he turned the performance of his post into a low-quality reality show. Moreover, Zeman repeatedly challenged some key strategic interests of the country.

The ODS congress will last until Sunday and it is to elect a new leadership and discuss political affairs.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who is the leader of the ANO movement and whom the ODS politicians strongly criticised at their congress on Saturday, congratulated Fiala on the strong support he received from his party.

Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) head Pavel Belobradek also congratulated Fiala. “Ninety percent is a strong mandate. I am looking forward to both competition and cooperation,” he said.

Petr Gazdik, head of the centrist Mayors and Independents (STAN), said he was glad that Fiala was re-elected as ODS chairman. “Only an honest man who has a vision and whose words can be trusted can lead the ODS to further success. And Petr Fiala is such a man,” Gazdik told CTK.

Social Democrat (CSSD) acting head Milan Chovanec said he expected Fiala to be re-elected and congratulated him to this. CSSD deputy chairman Jan Hamacek also congratulated Fiala on his re-election, although the CSSD and the right-wing ODS have very different stances on many issues.

Communist (KSCM) leader Vojtech Filip said the ODS organised privatisations that made poor many people in the country and many people linked to controversial cases from the past remain in the ODS leadership.

most viewed

Subscribe Now