Wednesday, 22 November 2017

The party of "three Klauses" recruiting members

By Ivana Kottasová |
Hospodářské noviny |
14 January 2009

New Euroskeptical party comes to existence

Strana svobodných občanů (the party of free citizens) has not even been formally established, but it can already boast the support of three MPs, one senator and a powerful fan at the Castle.


Strana svobodných občanů (the party of free citizens) has not even been formally established, but it can already boast the support of three MPs, one senator and a powerful fan at the Castle.

President Václav Klaus has at least given some good advice to the party of his protégé Petr Mach. "I don't remember. It was some small advice," said Mach who is an economist, executive director of Klaus' think-tank Center for Economics and Politics and the president's ideological companion.

His Euroskeptical organisation has been supported by MPs Juraj Raninec, Jan Schwippel and Alena Páralová (all from the ODS) and the senator Liana Janáčková. All, except for Raninec, consider joining the new party soon. All of them were mainly attracted by its opposition to the Lisbon Treaty, which used to be shared by the whole of ODS. The party, however, endorsed a more accommodating approach to the treaty at its last conference. Some don't like it.

"If the Lisbon Treaty gets endorsed in the parliament, despite the ODS having enough power to reject it in both chambers, I will no longer be able to stay in the ODS," said Páralová Tuesday.

It is exactly the opposition to the treaty that presents a great theme for the party and that attracted senator Liana Janáčková. She has become known for two things in politics. The first were her racist statements concerning Roma and the second was when she received an envelope with a bullet last year in February during the presidential election. She was one of the few independent senators supporting Václav Klaus.

The president himself supported the idea of a new right-wing party right after the autumn ODS party meeting where he resigned his honorary chairman position.

Klaus' spirit is obvious in the new party. It is supported by both of his sons, as well as by his long-term friend, the orthopaedist Pavel Dungl, who operated on president's knee in the summer. The party, whose organisation committee consists of five former Civic Democrats and the Eurosceptic writer Benjamin Kuras, wants to stand in the elections into the European Parliament. The party supports the construction of a US military base in Brdy, low taxes and thinks Czechs should decide on euro adoption in a referendum.

"We are considering an alliance with Libertas," said Mach, who is planning to run for the position of party leader. It is the Eurosceptic party of the Irish millionaire Declan Ganley that serves as a model for the party of the free.

Alongside SSO, another party, Liberálové.cz, appeared on Monday. They would like to attract their voters with an opposite programme – greater European integration and criticism of the Eurosceptical president. The party directly opposes Klaus on its website where they parody the governmental campaign "Evropě to osladíme".


Translated with permission by the Prague Daily Monitor.