published: 31.10.2012, 21:31 | updated: 31.10.2012 21:39:47
Prague - Former Czech deputy prime minister Radek John plans to end as chairman of the now opposition Public Affairs (VV) party because he will work as a journalist as of November, returning to his original profession, he told CTK.
John has been the VV leader since 2009. He wants the VV to choose somebody else to replace him as its chairman at an election congress in early 2013.
VV lower house group head Katerina Klasnova said the party leadership respects John´s decision and it agreed to hold an election congress in January.
John will head the journalistic section of the Empresa Media publishing company that also issues the Tyden weekly as of Thursday, November 1.
He said he is going to write texts on "the mafia tentacles stealing public money in the country."
"I believe there should be no force in a democratic state that would prevent a politician from publishing the facts that he has revealed during his work," John said.
The VV entered parliament in mid-2010 and became the smallest partner in the coalition government of Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS). Within a year, the VV developed a reputation of a troublemaker, saw its preferences plummeting and it is highly unlikely to defend its parliamentary seats in the next elections. In spring 2012 it left the government.
Opposition Social Democrat (CSSD) leader Bohuslav Sobotka told Czech Television (CT) that John can probably feel that the VV has no chance of regaining voters´ trust after its performance in the past few years.
John, 57, worked as an editor and scriptwriter in the past and he wrote several books. He was the editor-in-chief of the Nova television investigative programme With One's Own Eyes in the 1990s and the 2000s. His face markedly increased the VV´s popularity before the 2010 elections.
He was interior minister in 2010-2011 and deputy prime minister for anti-corruption struggle shortly in spring 2011. He resigned as deputy PM, citing discords with Necas.
At present, he is the chairman of the lower house security committee and a member of the mandate and immunity committee. He can therefore have access to classified data and data from the police.
Rudolf Burgr, head of the journalist department of the Social Studies Faculty at Masaryk University in Brno, said he considers such interconnection between politics, business and media inconceivable.
Sobotka said MP John´s journalist work probably would not be against law, yet it would be a conflict of interests.
Empresa Media issues the Tyden and Instinkt weeklies and magazines for teenagers and it has recently bought the Barrandov TV station. It is owned by media magnate Jaromir Soukup who has repeatedly tried to enter politics but did not succeed. Soukup supported the VV in the past, too.
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