Monday, 19 August 2019

Schwarzenberg not to run for TOP 09 leader again

6 October 2015

Cesky Krumlov, South Bohemia, Oct 5 (CTK) - Karel Schwarzenberg, 77, will not be defending the post of opposition TOP 09 chairman at the party's congress in November for health reasons, he announced at a meeting of the TOP 09 executive committee Monday.

Schwarzenberg has headed TOP 09 since its establishment in November 2009.

He is to be replaced by TOP 09 first deputy chairman Miroslav Kalousek, one of the most distinctive personalities of the party.

The TOP 09 South Bohemian organisation proposed Kalousek for the party's chairman Monday.

Schwarzenberg said his decision was motivated by his hearing impairment.

"The last straw for me was when we gave a press conference in the Chamber of Deputies and I could not hear the journalists' questions even with an audiphone," he said.

Schwarzenberg also said he would remain active in politics and that he would run for the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of parliament, again as the leader of the TOP 09 candidates in Prague.

The regular general election is due in 2017.

Schwarzenberg, former foreign minister who ran for president in 2013, said he still felt like working in politics.

"There are two persons who motivate me to stay very strongly. It is the president [Milos Zeman] and [Finance Minister, Deputy PM and ANO chairman Andrej] Babis," Schwarzenberg said.

He added that Kalousek should become his successor at the TOP 09' helm, he would be the best candidate.

"I am deeply convinced about it. He [Kalousek] was an unquestioned economic and financial authority... However, now he also comments on other topics and I must admit that very well. This is another reason why I am not needed here any more," Schwarzenberg said.

Kalousek announced in Cesky Krumlov Monday that he would run for TOP 09 chairman, adding that he would consider it his duty.

"I am the first deputy chairman and I must be prepared to lead the party in any situation," he said.

He also said he felt obliged to offer TOP 09 members a vision of the party's future political course and ask them for confidence.

Schwarzenberg ranks among the personalities who enjoy an informal authority, who are naturally respected and whose views are taken seriously, Kalousek said.

He also welcomed that Schwarzenberg would not leave politics. "He would be only rid of formal and administrative duties connected with the post of the party's chairman," Kalousek said.

Schwarzenberg's fellow party members expect him to accept the post of honorary chairman and keep dealing with foreign policy and human rights issues.

Chamber of Deputies head Jan Hamacek (senior government Social Democrats, CSSD)) told CTK that he also hoped Schwarzenberg would remain active in Czech politics. "Though I have disagreed with him many times, I respect him personally," Hamacek said.

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