Petr Fiala

Petr Fiala
MP
Petr Fiala 2019 Praha.jpg
Leader of the Civic Democratic Party
Assumed office
18 January 2014
Preceded by Petr Nečas
Minister of Education, Youth and Sports
In office
2 May 2012 – 10 July 2013
Prime Minister Petr Nečas
Preceded by Josef Dobeš
Succeeded by Dalibor Štys
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
Assumed office
26 October 2013
Personal details
Born (1964-09-01) 1 September 1964 (age 57)
Brno, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic)
Political party ODS (2013–present)
Alma mater Masaryk University
Charles University in Prague
Website www.pfiala.cz

Petr Fiala (born 1 September 1964) is a Czech politician, political scientist and university professor who has been leader of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) since 2014. He has also been a member of the Chamber of Deputies since 2013 and previously served as Minister of Education, Youth and Sports from 2012 to 2013.

Fiala is likely to become the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic following the 2021 election, after the SPOLU alliance, of which he is the leader, finished with the highest percentage of votes, and commands a majority of seats along with potential coalition partners.

Life and career

Early life and academic career

Born in Brno, Fiala attended the Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University before working as a historian in a museum. He took part in the underground university (1984-1989), and helped to organize the independent student movement Revue 88.[1]

In 1996, he became docent at Charles University in Prague, and in 2002 was named as a first professor of political science in the Czech Republic.[citation needed][clarification needed] In 2004, he became dean at the Faculty of Social Studies and in the same year was elected as Rector of Masaryk University, defeating Jan Weschler in the third round.[2] Fiala was reelected in 2008 and remained in the position until 2011. While Fiala was rector, the university increased its number of students to around 45,000 students, became the most popular Czech university in terms of applications, and created a nationwide system for detecting academic plagiarism. During this period, Masaryk University built a new €220 million campus for biomedicine, opened a research station in Antarctica, and coordinated a project of the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC) using CZK 5.3 billion from the European Structural and Investment Funds, which launched in 2011.[3]

Political career

In September 2011, Fiala served as a chief aide for science to Prime Minister Petr Nečas, and on 2 May 2012 was appointed as Minister of Education, Youth and Sports in Nečas' government, remaining in that post until Nečas resigned in 2013.

In the October 2013 legislative election, Fiala was elected as an independent to the Chamber of Deputies. The Civic Democratic Party (ODS) was defeated in the election, and Fiala joined the party in November 2013.[4] In 2014, Fiala announced his candidacy for the leadership of ODS, and on 18 January 2014, he was elected as the party's fourth leader. He was re-elected as party leader in 2016.

Fiala led ODS into the 2017 legislative election, in which the party finished second with 11% of the vote. Fiala refused to negotiate with ANO 2011 about joining the subsequent government, and ODS remained in opposition.[5] Fiala was reelected leader of ODS in 2018.

With Fiala as leader, ODS made gains in the 2018 municipal elections and won the Senate election of the same year.[6][7] Fiala was again reelected leader of ODS in 2020.

ODS also made gains during the 2020 regional elections.[8] Fiala then started negotiating with KDU-ČSL and TOP 09 about forming an electoral alliance for the legislative election in 2021.[9] ODS, KDU-ČSL and TOP 09 reached an agreement to form an alliance called SPOLU ("Together").[10] Fiala became the alliance's candidate for the post of Prime Minister.[11]

Ahead of the election, opinion polls suggested that ANO 2011 would win, but in an electoral upset Spolu won the highest number of votes, and opposition parties won a majority of seats in the Chamber of Deputies.[12] The opposition parties signed a memorandum agreeing to nominate Fiala for the position of Prime Minister.[13]

Public activism

In the 1980s, Fiala was involved in independent civic activism. Between 1984 and 1989 he participated in the so-called underground university, hosting seminars in Brno focused on political philosophy. He was involved in unofficial Christian activities, especially in the circle of secretly consecrated Bishop Stanislav Krátký. Along with other Brno students, he founded the samizdat university magazine Revue 88, published in 1988–1989.[14]

After November 1989, he continued his publishing and civic activism, working as an editor for magazines such as Proglas, Revue Politika and Kontexty. In 1993, he founded the Centre for the Study of Democracy and Culture (CDK), a civic think-tank. Fiala was criticized for his activities during the 2021 election campaign because the centre was accepting state subsidies.[15]

Fiala has been active long-term in institutions and bodies related to higher education and research in the Czech Republic and abroad. He has served as Vice-Chair (2005–2009) and Chair (2009–2011) of the Czech Rectors' Conference, and at the international level he was a member of the Council of the European University Association (2009–2011). In 2007, he was elected by the Parliament to the council of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, where he served for five years. He is a member of many scientific and academic councils of public and private universities and research institutions in the Czech Republic and abroad. He received a number of awards for his scientific and academic work; in 2011 he was awarded the Golden Plaque of the President of the Republic.

In 2005 he was part of the commission in the competition of Czech and Moravian wines, TOP 77.[16]

Political views

Fiala considers himself a Conservative politician.[17][18] He has said that he supports right-wing democratic politics that reject extremism and populism.[19]

In October 2015, Fiala called for a military invasion by Western ground forces in the Middle East, stating "We will not solve the problem of migration and destabilization of the Middle East and North Africa unless we take military action." On the other hand, he opposed Russian involvement in the war against Islamic State.[20]

In August 2016, he stated that "radical Islam is at war with Europe ... the Czech government should not have considered the senseless EU migration policy, not allowing quotas and not accepting migrants who pose a risk."[21]

In June 2018, commemorating displaced peoples and refugees, German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the expulsion of Germans from Czechoslovakia and other Central and Eastern European countries after World War II, arguing that there was no moral and political justification for the expulsion. Fiala responded that "pulling things out of the past with a one-sided interpretation certainly does not help the development of mutual relations."[22]

He opposed the withdrawal of Czech soldiers from the war in Afghanistan, saying that the Czech Republic "shouldn't run away from the fight."[23]

In October 2019, he condemned the military aggression of Turkey, a NATO member state, against the Kurds in Rojava in northern Syria, stating that "the situation in the Middle East has deteriorated significantly since this Turkish military operation in northern Syria."[24]

He welcomed the victory of the ruling Law and Justice in the Polish parliamentary elections in October 2019, noting that ODS and PiS had been cooperating for a long time in a common European Parliament group.[25] He also stated that he would limit the negative impacts of mining on Czech territory in the Polish Turów brown coal mine near the Czech border.[26]

Fiala supports Israel and its policies. He criticized Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček, Minister of Culture Lubomír Zaorálek and former Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg for their joint statement on 23 May 2020 condemning the planned Israeli annexation of Jewish settlements that Israel had built in the occupied West Bank since 1967.[27]

At the beginning of June 2020, a statue in Prague of the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in Winston Churchill Square in Žižkov, was spray-painted with the inscription "He was a racist. Black Lives Matter." referring to a wave of protests against police brutality and racism triggered by the murder of George Floyd in the United States. Fiala condemned the vandalism of Churchill's statue, describing Churchill as "the great democratic politician ... who contributed to the defeat of Adolf Hitler," and the grafitti as "stupid and shameful."[28]

Fiala expressed opposition to Russian and Chinese involvement in the construction of the new unit of the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant.[29] He also claimed that human impact on climate change is "not entirely clear", which was met with criticism and accusations of populism from environmental experts.[30]

Fiala opposes same-sex marriage and wrote in his book, A to Z, that "no one can want me to believe that same-sex people should form a marriage and a family that is equal to the natural one."[31]

Personal life

Petr Fiala is married to biologist Jana Fialová, who he met as a student during the Velvet Revolution. They married two years later and have three children.[32]

References

  1. ^ Petr Fiala, Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor
  2. ^ "Masarykova univerzita si zvolila nového rektora". tarantula.ruk.cuni.cz. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  3. ^ "Petr Fiala - životopis". FINANCNICI.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  4. ^ "Exministr školství Fiala vstoupil do ODS" (in Czech). Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Do Průhonic nepojedu. O uspořádání Sněmovny se má jednat ve Sněmovně, vzkázal šéf ODS Babišovi". www.seznam.cz. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  6. ^ Perknerová, Kateřina (8 October 2018). "Volby 2018: Kdo uspěl, kdo propadl, kdo sílí. A proč". Deník.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  7. ^ "Volby do Senátu ovládla ODS, pro hnutí ANO dopadly podle Babiše mizerně". Seznam Zprávy. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  8. ^ "ANO vyhrálo krajské volby, hejtmanská křesla ale nemá jistá. Uspěli i Starostové a ODS". ČT24 (in Czech). Česká televize. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  9. ^ "Námluvy pokročily. Jak se pečou koalice proti Babišovi do velkých voleb?". cnn.iprima.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  10. ^ "ODS, KDU-ČSL a TOP 09 jdou do voleb jako koalice SPOLU. Daly 17 slibů". www.seznamzpravy.cz. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  11. ^ "ODS, TOP 09 a KDU-ČSL půjdou do voleb společně. Chtějí je vyhrát". Česká Televize. 27 October 2020. Retrieved 8 March 2021.
  12. ^ "Spolu vyhrálo volby. Petr Fiala může být nový český premiér". E15.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  13. ^ "Czech opposition parties form majority alliance, sign memorandum for new government". www.expats.cz. 10 October 2021. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  14. ^ "Zázrak jménem Revue 88 aneb Když samizdat dělali studenti". iDNES.cz (in Czech). 28 March 2010. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  15. ^ "Fialovo ,dotační království' je zavádějící. Před zkresleným článkem varují experti na dezinformace". iROZHLAS (in Czech). Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  16. ^ "Čeští vinaři dohánějí ty moravské". iDNES.cz (in Czech). 2 November 2005. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  17. ^ Mazancová, Hana (23 September 2021). "Noblesní pán, který umí bouchnout do stolu. Jak by si Petr Fiala počínal jako premiér". Deník N (in Czech). Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  18. ^ ""Přirozená" rodina, homofobie, právo na názor a Petr Fiala". Heroine (in Czech). Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  19. ^ "Klausové mi nebudou říkat, co je pravicové, rozčílil se lídr ODS Fiala. A poprvé předvedl ostřejší styl politiky". www.seznamzpravy.cz. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  20. ^ "Fiala volá po vojenské invazi na Blízký východ". ČT24 (in Czech). Česká televize. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  21. ^ "Fiala: Jsme ve válce, která se vede i v našich ulicích". www.novinky.cz. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  22. ^ "Babišovi a Zemanovi vadí výroky Merkelové o odsunu Němců. Diplomacie s nimi problém nemá". Lidovky.cz (in Czech). 20 June 2018. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  23. ^ "Je třeba se z Afghánistánu stáhnout, řekl Zaorálek. Babiš to odmítl". iDNES.cz (in Czech). 23 October 2018. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  24. ^ "Sněmovna odsoudila tureckou agresi proti Kurdům, Babišovi uložila prosazovat ekonomická opatření". iROZHLAS (in Czech). Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  25. ^ "Další čtyři roky u moci. Výsledky potvrzují volební výhru Práva a spravedlnosti". Deník.cz (in Czech). 14 October 2019. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  26. ^ "Petr Fiala: Těžbu v Turówě měl stát řešit mnohem dříve". Občanská demokratická strana (in Czech). Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  27. ^ "Kritický článek tří ministrů zahraničí o Izraeli vyvolal v Česku politickou přestřelku". www.novinky.cz. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  28. ^ "Autorky nápisu na soše Winstona Churchilla: "Chtěly jsme upozornit na jeho zločiny."". A2larm (in Czech). Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  29. ^ "Spor o stavbu Dukovan pokračuje. Vládní strany věří, že tajné služby změní názor na účast Ruska a Číny". iROZHLAS (in Czech). Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  30. ^ Vodrážka, Prokop (6 October 2021). "Experti: Fialovo zpochybňování vlivu člověka na klima je manifestace populismu. Cílí na bojovníky za "normální svět"". Deník N (in Czech). Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  31. ^ "Fiala proti stejnopohlavním sňatkům: Tradiční rodinu je třeba chránit". www.novinky.cz. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  32. ^ "Sametová láska předsedy ODS Petra Fialy: Rande na hřbitově, návrh a revoluce". Deník.cz (in Czech). 19 November 2019. Retrieved 12 October 2021.

External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
Rector of Masaryk University
2004–2011
Succeeded by
Mikuláš Bek
Political offices
Preceded by
Minister of Education, Youth and Sports
2012–2013
Succeeded by
Dalibor Štys
Party political offices
Preceded by
Leader of the Civic Democratic Party
2014–present
Incumbent

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