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KDU-ČSL head wants to lead party to election victory

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Prague, Dec 22 (CTK) – Czech junior government Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) chairman and Deputy PM Pavel Belobradek believes that he will manage to lead his party to the victory in a general election, he has told CTK in an interview on the occasion of his 40th birthday.
Belobradek, who has headed the Christian Democrats for six years, also said politics gave him many inspiring meetings, but it deprived him of the time that he could have spent with his family.
Belobradek, who turns 40 on Sunday, was elected the KDU-CSL leader in 2010 after the general election in which the party did not enter the Chamber of Deputies for the first time in its modern history.
Under his leadership, the KDU-CSL returned to the lower house of parliament in 2013. The Christian Democrats then joined a centre left coalition government with the Social Democrats (CSSD) and the ANO movement, in which Belobradek became deputy PM in charge of science, research and innovations.
This autumn, the Christian Democrats won the elections to one-third of the Senate, the upper house of parliament, gaining six own senators and another three whom they supported within various alliances.
This is why Belobradek expressed hope that he would lead the party to a significant success in the election to the Chamber of Deputies, due in October 2017.
“If we are able to win Senate elections, why couldn’t we win the election to the Chamber of Deputies as well?” he told CTK.
In the past general election in October 2013, the KDU-CSL gained 6.8 percent so the vote. Its support has remained more or less the same since then, according to the latest opinion polls.
The party has started negotiating about possible cooperation with the Mayors and Independents (STAN) that was running together with the opposition right-wing TOP 09 in the previous elections.
Belobradek has been in the KDU-CSL since 2004 when he started working in local politics in Nachod, east Bohemia.
However, he supported the Christian Democrats earlier though his family did not rank among their traditional voters.
“We became tactical voters in the 1990s when we were seeking an alternative between the CSSD, in which many former Communists were, and the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), which we considered untrustworthy and whose links to business were knows then already. Christian Democrats seemed a reasonable alternative to us,” he said.
After six years in the KDU-CSL, he became its leader.
Belobradek has been the second longest serving post-communist chairman of the Christian Democrats after Josef Lux (1956-99), who headed the party in 1990-98.
Next year, Belobradek will be defending his chairmanship at the KDU-CSL’s congress.
Belobradek assesses supreme politics positively.
“It has given me self-fulfilment and meetings with great many interesting and inspiring people whom I could not have met otherwise,” he said.
However, his work in top political posts has deprived him of the time that he could have spent with his wife and three children wo keep living in Nachod, he said.
“To be a weekend daddy is not fortunate,” he added.
Before being elected KDU-CSL chairman, Belobradek announced he suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS). He said he believed his example might show other patients that they can score success in society despite this serious illness.
At the same time, he uses his position to help other people suffering from MS.
We have held a concert for our foundation the proceeds of which totalling more than 0.5 million crowns will go to the St Joseph Home in Zirec [east Bohemia], which is the only facility for people with serious MS consequences in the country,” he said.
The foundation plans a big event on the occasion of the World Multiple Sclerosis Day in May.
“We want to remember that these people are living among us and that even we who suffer from some disability can bring a lot to the society,” Belobradek added.

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