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Czech President Klaus supports extremist candidate for EdMin position

Prague, 28.2.2011 16:28, (ROMEA)

Today's edition of the Czech daily Právo includes an opinion piece by Czech President Václav Klaus which says the controversy over the employment of Ladislav Bátora at the Czech Education Ministry is "the dictatorship of political correctness". The President's remarks have promoted a great deal of response.

According to previous media reports, Bátora was to have been appointed first deputy to Czech Education Minister Josef Dobeš (Public Affairs - VV). After the media reported that Bátora had previously run on the candidate list of the ultra-nationalist National Party (Národní strana - NS), Dobeš met with Czech PM Petr Nečas (Civic Democrats - ODS) to discuss the appointment. Nečas has rejected the possibility. Bátora, a critic of the European Union and multiculturalism, is close to those in the President's inner circle and has called Klaus a peerless model for the country.

Klaus writes that the Bátora scandal was started by journalists and some politicians. In his view, it has been prompted by the phenomenon of a so-called "politically correct" society. "This is a worldwide, European and Czech phenomenon. Anyone who dares to defy it is overtaken by an avalanche of attacks that lead to their restriction in society - often the loss of employment and even personal ostracization. That is exactly what is happening in this country today with Ladislav Bátora," the President writes.

Klaus goes on to say that he does not know Bátora personally, but knows that he is a "deeply conservative, authentically right-wing" person who has participated in various public events opposing things he does not agree with, such as the European Union. Klaus says this activity is a direct contradiction of the opinions "of the strategists of political correctness and those who want to get in good with Brussels at any cost."

Klaus writes that he found Bátora's autobiography on the internet and learned from it that the author sharply defines himself as against Europeanism, multiculturalism, feminism, anti-discrimination and ecumenicism. Klaus says he himself identifies with many of those opinions.

"I insist that it is legitimate to have these types of opinions and that it would be fair to conduct a serious dialogue about them without a priori condemning them. Speaking for myself, Mr Bátora's opinions are very close to mine in many respects," Klaus writes.

In the past, Bátora ran on the candidate list of the ultra-nationalist National Party. During its existence the party opposed the EU, immigrants, and Roma people. One of its members was sentenced last year over a publication entitled "The Final Solution to the Gypsy Question" (Konečné řešení otázky cikánské) which included the idea of deporting all Roma to India.

Bátora is also engaged in the conservative initiative D.O.S.T., which is opposed to sex education in the schools. The possibility of his working at the Education Ministry would be welcomed by the Young Christian Democrats, who consider him a "person who has never been afraid of having opinions that go against the course of most of society."

"I cannot imagine that a person with a past such as that of Mr Ladislav Bátora would become a deputy minister at the Education Ministry," Czech PM Nečas said last week. "As Prime Minister I reject such a thing."

In his defense of Bátora, President Klaus also attacked the theologian Tomáš Halík. Mr Halík, however, has refused to comment on the President's "theological review". Klaus wrote that he sees "between Koniáš and Halík a difference of a mere three centuries (and probably real faith in the case of the first, while the second just performs a balancing act for the media)."

"Mr President is now not just an expert on cinematography and climatology, but also on theology and the authenticity of faith. I do not intend to comment on his theological review," Halík told the Czech daily Lidové noviny.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, jb, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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