published: 12.09.2013, 13:21 | updated: 12.09.2013 13:22:01
Prague - The former Czech government party TOP 09 today launched its campaign ahead of the early general election, to be held on October 25-26, setting itself apart from President Milos Zeman whose power embedded in the constitution it would like to modify.
The party would also like a binding date for the adoption of the euro to be set during the next four-year election term.
Some priorities were pushed through in the manifesto by the allied Mayors and Independents (STAN) movement. It wants mayors to be elected directly by voters, for instance.
TOP 09 chairman Karel Schwarzenberg said the rightist party focuses mainly on the country´s long-term heading.
"The Czech state must be a law-abiding state that mainly defends freedom. Freedom and law form the base of our state. The manifesto is based on this," Schwarzenberg said.
He said the current caretaker government Zeman appointed in July is "semi-legitimate."
"What frightens me is the spreading ´trunk bending´ in our country. I am most afraid of that we are again adapting ourselves to the new power so quickly and easily," he said.
TOP 09 has been setting itself apart from Zeman and his aides since the presidential campaign ahead of the first direct presidential election in January, in which Zeman defeated Schwarzenberg.
Schwarzenberg admitted some mistakes his party made when it was a member of the former centre-right government coalition and that it will now try to rectify the mistakes. He did not elaborate.
TOP 09 will present 12 programme spheres to the voters. It wants to strive for teachers´ position to be legally strengthened and for more secondary school students to undergo study stays abroad.
Party deputy chairman Miroslav Kalousek said this does not mean that TOP 09 would consider economic policy less important, but the party wants to emphasise people´s relation to education and culture.
TOP 09 also plans to push for preventative measures against smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and overeating to be taken.
The party also counts with raising patients´ participation in health services, but this should be "socially sensitive."
TOP 09 wants to abolish the maternity pay ceiling. The level of the pay should depend on the mother´s income before going on her maternity leave.
"We will open a discussion on the possibility of joint social insurance for married couples," the party´s manifesto reads, adding that the wife and husband could have the same title to their old-age pension, for instance.
In the preamble to the manifesto, TOP 09 says the Czech Republic is a parliamentary, not presidential republic, and that it will defend the observance of the constitutional order.
"If necessary, we will project the spirit of the Czech Constitution to the written text," the manifesto says.
TOP 09 opened today its transparent account for the election campaign on which it wants to spend some 50 million crowns, party election manager Jaroslav Polacek said.
Schwarzenberg´s presidential election campaign team, that included many known personalities, mainly artists, will participate in this campaign, too.
According to unofficial information, the party could again organise Schwarzenberg´s meetings with people in pubs.
TOP 09 will also put up billboards with slogans like "An authoritarian regime, or a government of authorities?", "To grumble about the situation, or to come to the polls?," "To hand out savings, or to invest with responsibility?"
The party has replaced the traditional stamp featuring Schwarzenberg, that was used on all promotion materials in the past, with a picture of a pipe which people have also always connected with him.
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