Former finance minister Miroslav Kalousek was voted in as the new chairman
of TOP 09 on Sunday, receiving a strong mandate from delegates. Of the 171
who voted, Mr Kalousek received votes from 148 (86.5 percent). No one else
at the party's congress ran for the top post. Likewise, Marek
Ženísek, endorsed by Mr Kalousek, ran unopposed for the post of first
deputy and received 71 percent.
A day earlier, Karel Schwarzenberg stepped down for age and health reasons but was elected honorary chairman and intends to still work closely with the party in the campaign in senate and communal elections. Mr Kalousek thanked him for his work as party leader and made clear Mr Schwarzenberg would continue to be a moral authority for TOP 09.
TOP 09's Karel Schwarzenberg, due to step down as party leader, has said that in the migrant crisis the Czech Republic, the EU and even his party faced the challenge of a generation, the same way predecessors had to deal with the realities of Nazism or communist rule. At his speech at his party's congress in Prague on Saturday, the former foreign minister, who has long championed human rights, said it was important to be open and friendly to refugees, suggesting anyone could become a refugee under certain circumstances. He added that the 25 year period following the Velvet Revolution had been golden but that it had ended. After his speech, he told journalists that he was disgusted by President Miloš Zeman's position on migrants; Mr Schwarzenberg went head-to-head against the current head of state in the presidential election in 2013.
The leader of TOP 09 Karel Schwarzenberg, 77, is to step down as chairman and pass the baton to deputy chairman Miroslav Kalousek at the party's congress launched in Prague on Saturday. The former foreign minister and presidential candidate is stepping down after successfully leading TOP 09 to third place in elections in 2010, not long after the party was formed. TOP 09, now in the opposition, was in the former government of Petr Nečas with the Civic Democrats and Public Affairs. Giving up the post, Mr Schwarzenberg will be named honorary chairman. The new party leader, Miroslav Kalousek, 54, is a seasoned politician who twice served as finance minister.
The leader of the TOP 09 political party and former Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, has announced that he will not stand for re-election to the top party post at its upcoming party congress. His position as party chairman was due to be renewed in November. Schwarzenberg, cited health reasons as one reason for his refusal to stand again. He denied, however, that he was withdrawing from public life and said he would stand in elections to the lower house of parliament as one of the leaders for the centre-right party in Prague. The front runner to lead the party would appear to be deputy chairman and former finance minister Miroslav Kalousek.
While the immigrant crisis has opened up a wide rift between the Czech Republic and other Central European states on one side and the traditional EU agenda setters in Western Europe, France and Germany on the other, differences within some Czech parties about the crisis and the possible solutions have also emerged.
Former foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg and the leader of the centre-right TOP 09 may step down as party leader or decline to run in a party congress in the autumn, the financial daily Hospodářské noviny suggested on Monday. According to the daily, TOP 09 is considering possible candidates to lead the party should he leave. Mr Schwarzenberg, who is 77, ran unsuccessfully for president in 2013, losing to Miloš Zeman. In the government of then-prime minister Petr Nečas, he was outspoken on human rights and other issues and has continued in that vein in the opposition.
Moscow has released a blacklist of EU politicans and diplomats, including four Czechs, who are banned from entering Russia in response to EU sanctions over Ukraine, the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday. The list contains 89 names. The Czechs who are no logner allowed to travel to Russia are the head of TOP 09 and former Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, TOP 09 deputy Marek Ženíšek, EU deputy Jaromír Štětina and former EU commissioner Štefan Füle.
Right-wing parties TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats are considering joining forces for next year’s regional elections, iHned.cz reported on Tuesday. In some regions the groupings could field joint candidate lists, the news website said. A member of the broader leadership of the Civic Democrats, Radovan Necid, said the party were in the highest state of emergency and could not afford to be dogmatic. TOP 09 chairman Karel Schwarzenberg said he would not be opposed to local regional organisations hooking up with the Civic Democrats. The two parties have been overtaken in popularity by the right-of-centre ANO, headed by tycoon and finance minister Andrej Babiš.
Karel Schwarzenberg, the head of the centre-right TOP 09 and former minister of foreign affairs, has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants control over the whole of Ukraine, adding that eventually the Russian leader would succeed. Mr Schwarzenberg made the comments during a debate focusing on security in the Baltics on Monday. He made clear he did not see ceasefire agreements in Minsk as stopping Moscow’s plans. Stefan Fuele, the former European commissioner for EU enlargement, in the same debate said Russia saw intervention in Ukraine as a means of reaching the same power level as the United States.