published: 03.03.2013, 22:17 | updated: 03.03.2013 22:58:19
Prague - About 800 personalities of Czech cultural and political life, old friends and assistants attended a music concert to say goodbye to outgoing President Vaclav Klaus and thank him for his presidency at the Prague Castle tonight.
Industry and Trade Minister Martin Kuba, first deputy chairman of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) that Klaus founded in 1991, said Klaus has been one of the greatest and most significant personalities of Czech post-communist politics.
Presidential Office head Jiri Weigl said Klaus always had a clear and firm idea of the path the country should take and he had a goal. He said Klaus was not afraid to make decisions and tell the truth, even if it were unpleasant.
Klaus inspired, motivated, provoked and set the framework on the domestic political scene, Weigl said. The belief in unlimited possibilities of a free human being was behind all that Klaus did and said, Weigl added.
The invited guests included lower house chairwoman Miroslava Nemcova (ODS) and ODS senators´ group head Jaroslav Kubera as well as artists, such as film director Juraj Jakubisko, pop singer Eva Pilarova and painter Adolf Born.
"I came to say goodbye. Klaus has been my favourite in politics since the revolutionary years (1989-90). I have admired his thinking very much," popular actress Iva Janzurova said.
Klaus thanked the invited guests for coming.
"As one can see it cannot be taken for granted because some didn´t come as you know," Klaus said.
Jazz flutist Jiri Stivin rejected the invitation in protest against Klaus´s recent sharp statements about late president Vaclav Havel and against the amnesty Klaus declared in January. The amnesty has been widely criticised for applying also to cases of large-scale corruption and economic fraud.
Klaus said the biggest problem currently is the divided country and society that is far worse than "the economic crisis, global warming and the whole of European Union."
Klaus is known as a fierce opponent of EU integration and the idea that global warming is caused by humans.
The concert was moderated by musician and former Associated Press agency´s correspondent Ondrej Hejma. Jazz pianist Emil Viklicky and pop singer Lucie Bila were among the performers.
The concert was titled Thanks Not Only For Jazz, Mr President. It alludes to a series of jazz concerts that were held for nine years at the Prague Castle under Klaus´s auspices.
Klaus has been the head of Czech state since 2003. His presidential mandate will expire on Thursday.
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