Former Presidential Candidate Pavel Fischer Announces Senate Bid

Prague, Feb 22 (CTK) – Unsuccessful Czech presidential candidate Pavel Fischer, who finished third in the January election, will run for the Senate as an independent in the Prague 12 ward in autumn, Fischer told journalists today.


Fischer said he was conducting talks on possible political support, but he did not want to be the candidate of a only one party.


Fischer said next week he would start collecting signatures for his candidacy.


He criticised President Milos Zeman, some steps taken by Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) and the rhetoric of Tomio Okamura, leader of the anti-EU Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD).


Fischer said in the Senate, he would like to deal with foreign policy, defence, regional development and the Czech Republic’s position in the EU.


He wants to warn of threats to democracy in the Czech Republic.


“It is February and I have decided to run for the Senate,” Fischer said, in a reference to the forthcoming anniversary of the Communist coup which occurred in February 1948.


Fischer criticised Zeman for his plan to attend the Communist congress in April. “A democratically elected president is announcing that he will deliver a speech at a congress of the Communists. This will legitimise them. Why is it taking place today?” he asked rhetorically.


Fischer also spoke about Babis’s contacts with the Czechoslovak StB Communist secret service.


Babis has denied the contacts, but a Slovak court recently dismissed his complaint that he was registered as an StB agent unrightfully.


Fischer said Okamura was a denier of history, referring to what he said about the internment camp for the Roma during World War Two.


Okamura said in January that the WW2 Lety concentration camp for the Roma had not been fenced. Later he admitted that there was a fence, but insisted that no one guarded it and the inmates could freely move around.


“The stifling stench of the past is coming back,” Fischer said, adding that lie had to be opposed.


In the January election, Fischer, a former diplomat, surprisingly occupied the third place after Zeman and academic Jiri Drahos with 10.2 percent of the vote. Zeman was then re-elected in the runoff, in which he defeated Drahos.