Czechia: Václav Klaus Jr. withdraws from politics

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On Tuesday, Václav Klaus Jr., the son of former Czech President Václav Klaus, announced his plan to withdraw from politics despite upcoming general elections where his party, the Tricolour Citizens’ Movement (Trikolóra), is in the running.

Klaus Jr. said that his decision stems from personal reasons. At the evening meeting of the party’s leadership, he resigned as chairman of the movement. MP Zuzana Majerová Zahradníková will now lead the party in the elections.

“After careful consideration, I decided not to lead the Tricolour to the parliamentary elections in 2021. I will not run for any post, and I will end public activities,” Klaus Jr. wrote on his Facebook page.

He added that he still stands behind the program he promoted as the leader of the movement.

“However, it must be promoted by someone with political talent and especially huge energy,” he said.

“Mere running ‘against the Pirates’ or ‘against Babiš’ is political nonsense. If you want to defeat or weaken someone, you have to draw people with your positive program. If you only keep saying that someone else (your political opponent) is this and that, that is the area of political commentators and not of the people in the game,” he added.

As for his reason for leaving politics, Klaus Jr. stated problems in his personal life were driving his decision.

“In the summer of 2017, just before the election, my family fell apart (not by my fault), and I more or less simply don’t have positive energy since then. I received lots of votes, but you cannot do politics from a position of anger, sadness, or exasperation,” he wrote on Facebook.

On Tuesday evening, the Tricolour leadership announced that Klaus Jr. had resigned from the chairman post. First Vice-Chairwoman Zuzana Majerová Zahradníková has taken the position until there is a party assembly that can vote for the new party chairman.

When asked by Aktuálně.cz whether it is possible that his father, former Czech President Václav Klaus, will run for the post of the chairman, Klaus Jr. replied that he did not want to speculate on such things.

Klaus Sr. has himself stated that he would consider his son’s departure a great loss for Czech politics and said he would try and persuade him to reconsider his decision.

However, according to a political scientist from the Faculty of Social Sciences of Charles University, Josef Mlejnek, the departure of Klaus Jr. may be related to his father’s political plans after all.

“Recently, Václav Klaus Sr. has been clearly indicating that he intends to re-enter politics and even lead a new party. The departure of his son may thus be related to his father’s political plans,” he said.

Last weekend, former President Klaus called for the parties that care about civil liberties to unite for this year’s parliamentary elections. In particular, he mentioned the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) and the Tricolour movements. At the same time, he warned against the Pirate Party, which he considers the radical left.

According to Lubomír Kopeček from Masaryk University in Brno, Klaus Jr. started in the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and had substantial support from the public, as evidenced by a large number of preferential votes he received in the 2017 parliamentary elections.

“After leaving ODS, however, it turned out that the start of his new political project will be much more difficult than he expected. I think it plays a role in his decision to leave politics, although the personal reasons he mentioned probably had some weight too,” Kopeček noted.

Klaus Jr., the former director of the prestigious private grammar school PORG, entered politics as an ODS deputy after the 2017 elections. He created the Tricolour movement in June 2019 after being expelled from ODS over differences he had with ODS policies and principles. He became the Tricolour chairman in September of that year.

In electoral models for the upcoming parliamentary elections, the movement has long received around 3 percent, below the 5-percent threshold required for entering the Chamber of Deputies.

Title image: Václav Klaus Jr. (Facebook)

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