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Mirek Topolánek

Mirek Topolánek

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Mirek Topolánek (ˈmɪrɛk ˈtopolaːnɛk) (born 15 May 1956) is a former prime minister of the Czech Republic and former President of the European Council
President of the European Council
The President of the European Council is a principal representative of the European Union on the world stage, and the person presiding over and driving forward the work of the European Council...

. A member of the Civic Democratic Party, he was chairman of the center-right party between November 2002 and March 2010, succeeding Václav Klaus
Václav Klaus
Václav Klaus is the second President of the Czech Republic and a former Prime Minister .An economist, he is co-founder of the Civic Democratic Party, the Czech Republic's largest center-right political party. Klaus is a eurosceptic, but he reluctantly endorsed the Lisbon treaty as president of...

, who was elected President
President of the Czech Republic
The President of the Czech Republic is the head of state of the Czech Republic. Unlike his counterparts in Austria and Hungary, who are generally considered figureheads, the Czech President has a considerable role in political affairs...

 in 2003.

On 24 March 2009, Topolánek announced his resignation as Prime Minister – and that of his governing coalition, after it lost a no-confidence vote
Motion of no confidence
A motion of no confidence is a parliamentary motion whose passing would demonstrate to the head of state that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in the appointed government.-Overview:Typically, when a parliament passes a vote of no...

 in the Czech House of Deputies. He remained in office until 8 May, at which point Jan Fischer took office as an independent Prime Minister leading an interim caretaker government
Caretaker government
Caretaker government is a type of government that rules temporarily. A caretaker government is often set up following a war until stable democratic rule can be restored, or installed, in which case it is often referred to as a provisional government...


Biography


Mirek Topolánek attended a military high school in Opava
Opava
Opava is a city in the northern Czech Republic on the river Opava, located to the north-west of Ostrava. The historical capital of Czech Silesia, Opava is now in the Moravian-Silesian Region and has a population of 59,843 as of January 1, 2005....

, where he became a Socialistic Union of Youth
Youth organizations in Communist Czechoslovakia
Youth organizations have always played an important role in political regimes.After the 1948 takeover of power, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia formed two Soviet-style youth organizations: the Pionýr and the Czechoslovak Union of Youth...

 member which he claimed to be semi-obligatory for future officer
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

s. After finishing he studied at Brno University of Technology
Brno University of Technology
Brno University of Technology is a university located in Brno, Czech Republic...

 where he received an Ing.
Engineer's degree
An engineer's degree is an advanced academic degree in engineering that is conferred in Europe, some countries of Latin America, and a few institutions in the United States....

 degree in mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the...

. In 1996 he won a scholarship for Training Course in Management of small and medium enterprise (MIM) in Cyprus and also attended a post-graduate Course in Corporate Management (Centre for Management Training, Čelákovice CZ).

He entered politics by becoming a member of a post-communist catch-all civic movement Civic Forum
Civic Forum
The Civic Forum was a political movement in the Czech part of Czechoslovakia, established during the Velvet Revolution in 1989...

 in 1989, and has been a member of the Civic Democratic Party since 1994. Topolánek co-founded the engineering company VAE Ltd. in 1991 and was a member of the VAE Inc. board of directors from 1996 to 2003.

Mirek Topolánek has two daughters, two sons and two grandchildren. He was married to Pavla Topolánková
Pavla Topolánková
Pavla Topolánková is a Czech politician. She was born in Bohumín, Czech Republic on 7 May 1955. She was the wife of Mirek Topolánek, former Czech Prime Minister....

 from 1979 to February 2010. In June 2010, he married Lucie Talmanová
Lucie Talmanová
Lucie Talmanová is a Czech politician.She graduated from the Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague . From 1990 till 1994, she worked as a radiology lab specialist. In 1994–1998, she served as vicemayor of Prague 1...

. His hobbies include tennis, golf and rally driving. He likes books by Steinbeck, Hemingway, and Kundera. He admires such political personalities as Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

, Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

 and José María Aznar
José María Aznar
José María Alfredo Aznar López served as the Prime Minister of Spain from 1996 to 2004. He is on the board of directors of News Corporation.-Early life:...

 and music by the Czech folk singer Jarek Nohavica as well as Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd were an English rock band that achieved worldwide success with their progressive and psychedelic rock music. Their work is marked by the use of philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, innovative album art, and elaborate live shows. Pink Floyd are one of the most commercially...

.

Political career


Topolánek was a member of the Senate
Senate of the Czech Republic
The Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic , usually referred to as Senát, is the upper chamber of the Parliament of the Czech Republic...

 from 1996 to 2004 and its deputy chairman from 2002 to 2004. Since June 2006 he has been a member of the Chamber of Deputies
Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic
The Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic is the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of the Czech Republic. The seat of the Chamber of Deputies is situated in palaces in Malá Strana, Prague....

. After the June parliamentary elections in 2006, which produced a stalemate result (100 seats for left-leaning and 100 for right-leaning parties out of 200 Chamber of Deputies members). Topolánek was appointed Prime Minister by Václav Klaus
Václav Klaus
Václav Klaus is the second President of the Czech Republic and a former Prime Minister .An economist, he is co-founder of the Civic Democratic Party, the Czech Republic's largest center-right political party. Klaus is a eurosceptic, but he reluctantly endorsed the Lisbon treaty as president of...

 on 16 August 2006 and introduced a unicolour government (nine members of the Civic Democratic Party and six independents). This government (Topolánek I) failed to gain confidence in the Chamber of Deputies, but he continued to be caretaker Prime Minister until 9 January 2007, when his second cabinet (Topolánek II
Mirek Topolánek's Second Cabinet
The Government of the Czech Republic since January 9, 2007 was formed by a coalition of the victorious Civic Democratic Party with the small Christian and Democratic Union - Czechoslovak People's Party and the Green Party...

) was appointed. He put together a centre-right coalition government
Coalition government
A coalition government is a cabinet of a parliamentary government in which several political parties cooperate. The usual reason given for this arrangement is that no party on its own can achieve a majority in the parliament...

 with the Green Party
Green Party (Czech Republic)
The Green Party is a political party in the Czech Republic.The party was founded in February 1990 but for a long time it struggled to obtain significant influence in Czech politics. In the 2002 legislative election the party received 2.4% of the vote...

 and Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party. It finally gained confidence on 19 January 2007 (230 days after the elections
Czech legislative election, 2006
Parliamentary elections were held in the Czech Republic on 2 and 3 June 2006.The pre-election campaign was fierce and mostly negative. A major scandal broke out few days before the election. The two largest parties had profited from the divisive campaign – both had obtained the highest percentage...

), thanks to two social democratic
Czech Social Democratic Party
The Czech Social Democratic Party is a social-democratic political party in the Czech Republic.-History:The Social Democratic Czechoslavonic party in Austria was founded on 7 April 1878 in Austria-Hungary representing the Kingdom of Bohemia in the Austrian parliament...

 deputies who abstained, thus effectively defaulting to a right-wing government rather than the unstable situation ongoing since the June 2006 elections
Czech legislative election, 2006
Parliamentary elections were held in the Czech Republic on 2 and 3 June 2006.The pre-election campaign was fierce and mostly negative. A major scandal broke out few days before the election. The two largest parties had profited from the divisive campaign – both had obtained the highest percentage...

.

Involvement in the Anti-Missile Defence System


Mirek Topolánek is an ardent supporter of the Bush administration's proposed anti-missile defence system, which was vehemently opposed by the Russians, and which the Obama administration has suggested may not need to be built if Russia cooperates in convincing Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, the country whose nuclear ambitions the defence system is to protect against, to stop the development of its nuclear programme and its support of terrorist organizations across the Middle East.

Five Prime Minister's Priorities


Mirek Topolánek introduced the so-called "Five Prime Minister's Priorities" in October 2007. It is a government statement which includes 10 program areas, which consist of 190 projects of Government’s Program Goals Through Electoral Term accepted by the government. To facilitate orientation and communication with citizens Mirek Topolánek has summarized the 10 program areas to Five Prime Minister‘s Priorities: Healthy Public Finances, Modern and Efficient State, Safe Citizen in a Safe Country, Removing Barriers, Promoting Science and Education.

Fall of Government


On 24 March 2009, after four failed earlier attempts, the opposition ČSSD
Czech Social Democratic Party
The Czech Social Democratic Party is a social-democratic political party in the Czech Republic.-History:The Social Democratic Czechoslavonic party in Austria was founded on 7 April 1878 in Austria-Hungary representing the Kingdom of Bohemia in the Austrian parliament...

  and communists party succeeded in leading the lower house of the Czech parliament
Parliament of the Czech Republic
The Parliament of the Czech Republic is the legislative body of the Czech Republic, based in Prague. It consists of two chambers, both elected in direct elections:* the Lower House: Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic...

 to a no confidence vote in Topolánek's government. The measure passed with 101 votes to 96 as four members of Topolánek's coalition (two of his own party) voting with the opposition. After the vote, Topolánek said that he would resign in accordance with the Constitution. He confidently said: "We believe the president should also follow the custom and appoint me to form a new government."

Several observers were surprised by the outcome of the vote. In addition, the European Commission
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

 stated that it had confidence in the Czech Republic, and that the nation's EU presidency would remain unaffected.

On 15 September 2009, Topolánek resigned his seat in the Chamber of Deputies after ČSSD announced a delay of proposed snap election
Czech legislative election, 2010
A legislative election in the Czech Republic took place on 28–29 May 2010. The election had been expected to take place some time before the end of 2009 to elect the members of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic...

 in October 2009.

Controversies


Topolánek has been criticised for his rhetoric, which occasionally invokes memories of the World War II and Nazi atrocities. In August 2003 Topolánek called the programme of the competing Social Democratic Party (ČSSD
CSSD
CSSD may refer to:*Central School of Speech and Drama * Central Sterile Supply Department *Cloneproof Schwartz Sequential Dropping...

) to be a "osvětimská lež" (Auschwitz lie), a common expression in Czech which denotes Holocaust denial
Holocaust denial
Holocaust denial is the act of denying the genocide of Jews in World War II, usually referred to as the Holocaust. The key claims of Holocaust denial are: the German Nazi government had no official policy or intention of exterminating Jews, Nazi authorities did not use extermination camps and gas...

. Topolánek's remark therefore implied that ČSSD's program was a set of lies.

Further in June 2005, one year before the Parliament elections, he said: "From my side, don't expect anything else than a Night of the Long Knives
Night of the Long Knives
The Night of the Long Knives , sometimes called "Operation Hummingbird " or in Germany the "Röhm-Putsch," was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany between June 30 and July 2, 1934, when the Nazi regime carried out a series of political murders...

. This night simply comes." This actually meant that after the elections of 2006, which he would win, he would make major personnel changes in the government.

In March 2007 he sent to a journalist an SMS message beginning with: "Es kommt der Tag...", which
means "The day will come...". This was used in the 1930s by the Sudetendeutsche Party representing Germans in the former Czechoslovakia, and meant that the day will come, when the Sudeten Area
Sudetenland
Sudetenland is the German name used in English in the first half of the 20th century for the northern, southwest and western regions of Czechoslovakia inhabited mostly by ethnic Germans, specifically the border areas of Bohemia, Moravia, and those parts of Silesia being within Czechoslovakia.The...

 will become a part of Germany. Also in 2007, Topolánek was criticised when he raised his middle finger
Finger (gesture)
In Western culture, the finger , also known as the middle finger, is an obscene hand gesture, often meaning the phrases "fuck off" , "fuck you" or "up yours"...

 in the lower house
Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic
The Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic is the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of the Czech Republic. The seat of the Chamber of Deputies is situated in palaces in Malá Strana, Prague....

. In October 2008, Topolánek lashed out at a photographer who was taking photographs of his 15-month-old son. BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 reported that at one stage Topolánek pushed the photographer against a wall and threateningly asked why he was taking photos of him.

On 30 May 2009, the Italian police seized photos under suspicion of a violation of privacy. One photo, according to world media showed Topolánek naked at Villa Certosa (Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi , also known as Il Cavaliere – from knighthood to the Order of Merit for Labour which he received in 1977 – is an Italian politician and businessman who served three terms as Prime Minister of Italy, from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006, and 2008 to 2011. Berlusconi is also the...

's summer house) in May 2008. In the end, Topolánek admitted the naked man sunbathing near a topless women in Berlusconi's Villa Certosa was himself.

On 20 March 2010 Blesk
Blesk
Blesk is a daily tabloid newspaper in the Czech Republic. Its name translates as The Lightning. It has the highest circulation of any newspaper in the Czech Republic.It is owned by Ringier....

 and Lidové noviny
Lidové noviny
Lidové noviny is a daily newspaper published in the Czech Republic. It is the oldest Czech daily. Its profile is nowadays a national news daily covering political, economic, cultural and scientific affairs, mostly with a centre-right, conservative view...

 newspapers reprinted passages from interview Topolánek gave to Czech gay magazine LUI which contained his several controversial statements criticizing brainwashing allegedly perpetrated by Christian church
Christian Church
The Christian Church is the assembly or association of followers of Jesus Christ. The Greek term ἐκκλησία that in its appearances in the New Testament is usually translated as "church" basically means "assembly"...

es and claims that both gay and Jewish people lack integrity of moral character, but Jews more so. He also expressed his contempt towards voters of ČSSD
CSSD
CSSD may refer to:*Central School of Speech and Drama * Central Sterile Supply Department *Cloneproof Schwartz Sequential Dropping...

 and described their view on minorities as 'imprison them all and kick up their arses'. He did apologize for his statements, which he claimed were taken out of context, on 21 March 2010. LUI published full video footage of the interview. Prime minister Fischer
Jan Fischer (politician)
Jan Fischer was Prime Minister of the caretaker government of Czech Republic in 2009−2010. A lifelong statistician, he was previously the president of the Czech Statistical Office since April 2003.- Personal life and education :...

 replied to Topolánek's statements describing them as 'stupid, insulting and misleading'. He also expressed his desire to restrain his contact to Topolánek to a minimum.

In the light of this controversy, Topolánek decided to step down as election leader of Civic Democratic Party in the Czech legislative election
Czech legislative election, 2010
A legislative election in the Czech Republic took place on 28–29 May 2010. The election had been expected to take place some time before the end of 2009 to elect the members of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic...

, held in May 2010. The deputy chairman Petr Nečas
Petr Necas
Petr Nečas is the current Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and Leader of the Civic Democratic Party. He was sworn into office on 28 June 2010....

 took up his post.

External links


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