The CVVM survey shows that despite the ongoing pandemic and government bans, people have been praising their lives most since 2013, when the last ODS-led government ended. And at the end of July, this was confirmed by another survey, in which the Czechs even reported that they had the best in the last 20 years. Do you feel that you understand what is really bothering people?
People are doing well economically in many ways, and that’s beautiful. And this, of course, is not only the merit of the government, but it is certainly also the way the economy develops, the way people work, what is happening in Europe as a whole. That is good, of course.
But I think people are smart enough to know that there are huge problems that aren’t being solved, and people are bothered. People don’t care what happens in this country, how populism wins here, how nothing important has moved.
That you are doing well, and then you also think about the perspective of children. If they have a chance to have a really good education, to have a pension one day, to get a home, and people answer, “I don’t see such a chance right now.”
To the leitmotif of the campaign that you are now suggesting, namely the end of the Andrej Babiš era in politics. Do you really think it’s reflected in the lives of ordinary people? Isn’t your campaign inconsistent with the majority perception of Czechs?
I am among the people every day and they express a great understanding of what we are saying. This time the campaign is a little different than it was in previous years or than there were other campaigns.
Today, people come to me and say, “We believe you will change that. You are our hope. ”It is completely different and extremely positive. People want change, they don’t want to look at it. They are not happy with what is happening in this country. They are afraid that populists and extremists will drag us east.
What will make people live better when you win? They are already happier than before.
How who is happier. But we have to do a few things that are essential. First, tame the budget. Some may feel that they are living better, but in 2013 each of us owed 160 thousand crowns, today almost 230 thousand crowns. Debt is growing almost the fastest in Europe in the Czech Republic.
In four years, it should be a country that has a managed budget, manages citizens’ money responsibly. The country where flats are being built, the roads that can also be driven in some way, have a modern education system and a quality environment. A country that is simply one of the best in the world.
In an interview with Právo, you described Pirates as the new left, saying that together you can change politics. But unlike those pre-holiday polls, you are growing, the announced coalition partner, Pirates with STAN, is falling. No problem?
So I make sure we succeed as best we can.
If you don’t get a majority with Pirates and STAN after the election, will this failure, which the old-new boss Vít Rakušan has now talked about at the STAN assembly, be?
If we don’t get it, it’s done. So there will be a government of populists with extremists. Andrej Babiš will rule here with the SPD, the Communists, the Oath, or who simply gets to the Chamber of Deputies, and it’s done. And if he has this chance, he will.
What will be the next steps if you do not get a majority of 101 seats in the House and there will be YES, SPD and the Oath and Communists?
What next steps? This is what I say to people: This is a threat. Please, we all open our eyes.
So is it either or not?
It’s either or. If this happens, we have a government of populists with extremists pulling our country east. And none of the problems we have here will be solved. He will agree on that government without any problems. Let’s look at the Chamber of Deputies, where he has been cooperating with the Communists and the SPD since the beginning of the YES term. If they have a majority, they will.
After all, to what extent do you think about the future of the Czech Republic when you work with only one scenario?
I offer people a scenario that is realistic. Do you have another one, Madam Editor? I’ll be glad if you tell me.
If I understand correctly, are you saying that you will either win, or because of a lack of an election result, you will actually de facto hand over the country to the hands of the “threat” you are warning of without a post-election fight?
So you think there would be a good coalition Together and maybe a YES movement? I do not think so.
I’m asking here. In your opinion, is the ODS government with YES less a problem for the Czechia than YES with SPD and Oath?
But this is simply not the case. After all, we cannot take part in the devastation of the country that is taking place here. Look at the Social Democracy, which went into government with the YES movement, crossed all the red lines it took, and broke all its promises. See where they are.
Is this the solution? This is not a solution for the Czech Republic. I’m sorry, but that’s ridiculous. After all, we would betray everything we strive for here. Andrej Babiš has a huge conflict of interest, nothing has moved and there is simply outrageous populism. How should we get involved in this now? What’s the point? We are trying to win the election and I believe we will win.
That’s why I’m betting on this card before the election, because it’s the only realistic one. Everything else is an illusion.
And, of course, the YES movement is playing the game it has played before and which some commentators are also jumping on, that we will do it after the ODS elections. But it was already in 2017. Numerically it could be, in fact not. Then we said: We have conditions for joining the government that have not been met, so we will not go to the government. And we kept our word.
The people I meet don’t say, “You should do it with Andrei,” but “Expel him, it’s evil and it must end.”
Do you not regret that the ODS must unite to be a relevant opponent in the number of votes for the YES movement?
He’s not sorry. The ODS has done this knowingly to increase its potential to face unequal political competition, which means, among other things, that our political rival directly owns a share of the media market and other things that everyone knows.
So we faced it this way and overcome the long-term disadvantage of the center-right political spectrum in the Czech Republic, which is fragmentation. And I think that’s a big deal, and I’m not sorry at all. The ODS will emerge stronger.
Do you think that if the ODS entered the government with YES after the last elections, it would not be able to steer YES policy to the right?
That’s not what we think. We do not and do not see any reason to connect with the people who have brought this country into this situation. In short, I do not intend to. And what is very important is not Petr Fiala or the ODS leadership, that is the absolute majority opinion in the ODS. We don’t want this. We offer people an alternative.
Can you imagine coming to the ODS Winter Congress without a prime minister or ministerial post?
My horizon is October 9th. These are the election results announced. And there I will think what to do next. But until then, I’m only thinking about how to succeed in the election as much as possible.
So if it is not possible to form a government without the YES movement, are you automatically an opposition force?
We’ll see how voters deal the cards. We have made our priorities clear.
You are not answering the question.
I answer and I will answer one more time. We cannot imagine forming a government with those who have caused this disruption of public finances, the state, political culture, and such a huge conflict of interest. And the example of social democracy undoubtedly warns those who think it would work.
Do you think that there will be no attractive offers, let’s say you will become the Prime Minister and Andrej Babiš will withdraw?
I do not understand what YES is without Andrej Babiš. I simply do not understand. YES, it is all built on Andrej Babiš. YES realizes the interests of Andrej Babiš.
In the interview, you stick to the clear profile of the ODS. Who would probably disagree is the founder of the ODS, Václav Klaus, who said in an interview with Novinky that the ODS depressed him and, on the contrary, YES profiled more clearly. How do you understand his words?
I don’t know. I don’t deal with it at all. I didn’t even notice it. I came to the ODS in 2013, which was, I suspect, five years after Václav Klaus left her and said goodbye to her very sharply. He already supported other political actors at the time and is still doing so. It is a criticism from a person who is directly involved in a competing political party.
Now that you hear him, how does he affect you?
The person who has been opposed to the ODS for the last ten years, which I remember, probably doesn’t like that we are successful.
Aren’t you wondering if you derive any political responsibility?
I will no doubt derive some political responsibility, but what kind of political responsibility I am not really thinking about now. I believe that we will win the elections and succeed.