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July 23, 2018
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Czech presidential candidate Hynek says inclusion in the schools must be "cancelled"

9.1.2018 13:18
Jiří Hynek (2018).
Jiří Hynek (2018).

At the end of this week, voters in the Czech Republic will be casting their ballots for President. The first round of voting will take place on 12-13 January.

There are nine candidates running. If none of them wins a majority of the votes, the two strongest candidates will face off in a second round on 26-27 January.

News server sent several questions to all of the candidates, primarily about Romani-related subjects. We are publishing them in the order in which we receive their responses, and the first to answer was the head of the Association of the Defense and Security Industries, Jiří Hynek.

According to his campaign website, Hynek is a graduate of the Mathematics and Physics Department of Charles University. He began his career as a development staffer at the Kolín branch of Tesla. Since 1992, among other functions, he has worked as the Director-General of Karlovy Vary Porcelain, as the chair of the board and General Director of the Praga company, as the director of the state enterprise VOP-026 Šternberk, and briefly as director of the Administration of Basic Registries. Since 2011 he has worked as Executive Director and President of the Association of the Defense and Security Industries of the Czech Republic. He is a member of Mensa Czech Republic, the head of the Czech Republic's delegation to the NATO Industrial Advisory Group, and a member of the Defense Ministry's Council on Applied Research, Development and Innovation. He is in a second marriage and has four children. 

Q: The Czech state recently concluded a contract to buy the pig farm in Lety u Písku that is standing on the site of a former concentration camp for Romani people. Is that good news, in your view? Do you agree with the previous Government's step?

A: I agree that the Government should have resolved the problem of that remembrance site. I am not certain if the price for which the farm was purchased is correct.

Q: In your view, does the Czech Republic need the law on social housing that was not adopted during the previous electoral period, despite the promises of the previous Government to adopt one?

A: The Czech Republic needs a law on social housing, but it needs a high-quality law, and it needs to be clear how the consequences of the law will be financed. As far as I know, that has been the stumbling block for the previous bills, as well as an inability to exactly define who precisely will be entitled to social housing. It is apparent that the state should address the traffickers in poverty, i.e.., those who lease rooms in residential hotels to the socially vulnerable for outrageous sums because they are making money on the fact that the state is, to a significant extent, providing the financing for accommodations of that type.

Q: Are you in favor of remaining in the European Union or leaving it? Are you in favor of adopting the euro?

A: I'm for reform of the European Union. If the EU does not change, if it does not stop constantly further and further regulating every area of our lives and taking states' sovereignty away from them, then it will achieve the result that other countries will leave and it will disintegrate. I would not wish to see that. I want to actively contribute to EU reform. I do not support adopting the euro. It is not in our national interest, that currency is not in good condition, and by adopting it we would be giving up an important instrument in our economy.

Q: Whom would you give state honors to if you were to become head of state? Do you know of any Romani figures who deserve such an honor?

A: State honors are earned by those who have done something for the Czech Republic, whether in the field of culture, politics, science or security, by people who have made our country celebrated and pushed it forward. I do not categorize people by their nationality or skin color.

Q: What is your view of affirmative action for Romani people, for example, the scholarships provided to Romani high school and college students?

A: I consider scholarships supported by private donors to be a good thing for the future of all gifted students.

Q: If you were to become head of state, would you announce a partial prisoner amnesty the way Czech President Václav Klaus did?

A: No. I do not see the slightest reason to do so.

Q: Does the Czech Republic need inclusive education, in your view? How do you assess the first year of inclusion in practice?

A: Well, the way inclusion has been introduced has been hasty, without thorough analysis and preparation, and it will not benefit anything, not even for the handicapped children. I am for cancelling this experimenting on children and teachers.

Rena Horvátová, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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