Olomouc - Former education minister and current MP Petr Fiala was, as expected, elected leader of the Czech opposition right-wing Civic Democrats (ODS) at their congress today, beating his rival candidates, MEP Edvard Kozusnik and deputy head Miroslava Nemcova.
Dvoudenní kongres Občanské demokratické strany (ODS) se konal 18. ledna v Olomouci. Petr Fiala (vpravo) byl na kongresu zvolen novým předsedou ODS. ČTK Peřina Luděk
The ODS was without its chairperson after the resignation of then party head and PM Petr Necas in June 2013. The party was led by its deputy head Martin Kuba.
Fiala, 49, received 437 votes, Kozusnik, 42, was supported by 32 delegates and Nemcova, 61, got 66 votes.
The congress is now to elect the ODS deputy heads.
"Thank you very much for an extremely strong mandate that you gave me and that I appreciate. I consider it an immense commitment. I am prepared to work hard," Fiala told the delegates.
"A new ODS culture starts, people will not leave their posts without being thanked for their work by us," he added.
He called on the fellow party members to jointly thank former chairman Necas, who had done a lot for the ODS, as well as Kuba and Nemcova, who had led the party in difficult times.
Fiala became the ODS´s fourth chairman after its founder Vaclav Klaus, ODS leader in 1991-2002 and president in 2003-2013, and his successor in the party´s helm Mirek Topolanek (2002-2010) who was replaced by Petr Necas in 2010.
New Czech ODS chairman Fiala is in party only for few months
A brief profile of political scientist, MP and former education minister Petr Fiala, 49, who was elected Czech opposition Civic Democrat (ODS) leader today.Date and place of birth: September 1, 1964, Brno.
Education: He graduated from Brno's Masaryk University, majoring in history and Bohemian studies; became senior lecturer in 1996 and political science professor in 2002.
Professional career: After university studies, he worked as a historian in the Kromeriz Regional Museum and an editor of then daily Lidova demokracie and Atlantis publishers (1990). He co-founded the political science department at the Masaryk University's Faculty of Arts and became its head in 1993; he headed the Brno-based International Political Science Institute (1996-2004); was rector of Masaryk University (2004-2011), chaired the Czech Conference of Rectors (2009-2011); then he was the university's deputy rector until May 2012.
Political career: He was prime minister Petr Necas's (ODS) major science adviser from September 2011 to April 2012; unaffiliated education minister in Necas´s coalition government in May 2012-July 2013 and member of the Research, Development and Innovations Council; last autumn he headed the ODS list of candidates in the South Moravia Region in the October 2013 early general election and he was elected deputy to the lower house of parliament.
Party membership: He joined the ODS in November 2013; announced his candidature for ODS leader a month later.
Family: Married with three children.
- Fiala has been an active ODS politician for a short time, but he says he has cooperated with the Civic Democrats ideologically since 2009. He wants the party, which suffered the worst election debacle in October 2013, to return to its right-wing programme as the way out of the crisis.
- After the collapse of the communist regime in November 1989, Fiala ranked among the first scholars to fully deal with political science; he was appointed the first political science professor in the Czech Republic in 2002. He focuses on comparative political science and European politics. He has authored or co-authored dozens of specialist monographs and 200 expert studies.
- Fiala became education minister in 2012 after the resignation of Josef Dobes (Public Affairs, VV) who was connected with many scandals. Fiala succeeded in stabilising the turbulent situation in the sector quite quickly.