|Leader of the Civic Democratic Party|
|Assumed office |
18 January 2014
|Preceded by||Petr Nečas|
|Minister of Education, Youth and Sports|
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
|Born||1 September 1964|
Brno, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic)
|Political party||ODS (2013–present)|
|Alma mater||Masaryk University |
Charles University in Prague
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.
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 various civic activities, e.g. the underground university (1984-1989), helped to organize the independent student movement Revue 88.
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.[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 after he defeated Jan Weschler in third round. Fiala was reelected in 2008 and remained in the position until 2011. Under his rectorship the university increased number of student while undergoing qualitative improvement. It became an important Central European educational and research institution with cca 45,000 Students. It became the most popular Czech university in terms of interest of applicants and created a nationwide system for detecting plagiarism During this period, Masaryk University built a new campus for biomedicine, which is one of the largest constructions and one-off investments (€ 220 million) for higher education in Central and Eastern Europe; in 2006, it opened its own research station in Antarctica, coordinated a project of the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC) in the amount of CZK 5.3 billion from the European Structural Funds, which was launched in 2011.
In September 2011, he 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. 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 the party joining the subsequent government, and ODS remained in opposition. Fiala was then reelected leader of ODS in 2018 election.
ODS also made gains during the 2020 Czech regional elections. Fiala then started negotiating with KDU-ČSL and TOP 09 about forming electoral alliance for 2021 Czech legislative election. ODS, KDU-ČSL and TOP 09 made agreement to form an alliance called Spolu ("together"). Fiala became candidate for the post of Prime Minister.
Spolu ran in the 2021 Czech legislative election with Fiala as leader. Opinion polls suggested that ANO 2011 would win the election 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. Opposition parties signed a memorandum agreeing to nominate Fiala for the position of the new Prime Minister.
In the 1980s he took part in independent civic activities. Between 1984 and 1989 he participated in the so-called underground university, housing seminars focused on political philosophy in Brno. He was involved in unofficial Christian activities, especially in the circle of secretly consecrated Bishop Stanislav Krátký. With several Brno students, he founded and in 1988–1989 published the samizdat university magazine Revue 88.
After November 1989, he continued his publishing and civic activities, working as an editor in magazines such as Proglas, Revue Politika and Kontexty. In 1993, he founded the civic association Centre for the Study of Democracy and Culture (CDK), a think-tank. Fiala was criticized for his activities during the 2021 election campaign because the centre was accepting state subsidies.
Fiala has also been active for a long time in institutions and bodies dealing with higher education and research in the Czech Republic and abroad. In 2005–2009 he was repeatedly elected Vice-Chairman, in 2009–2011 Chairman 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 called TOP 77.
In October 2015, Fiala called for a military invasion of Western ground forces into 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 rejected Russia's involvement in the war against the Islamic State.
In August 2016, he stated that "radical Islam is at war with Europe ... the Czech government should not have approached the senseless EU migration policy, not allowing quotas and not accepting migrants who pose a risk."
In December 2016 Fiala rejected political correctness, calling it "hypocrisy that suffocates us and prevents us from calling things by their real names. It prevents us talking about the values we believe in, and solving real problems."
In June 2018, commemorating the displaced and refugees, German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the expulsion of Germans from Czechoslovakia and other Central and Eastern European countries after World War II. Fiala responded to Chancellor Merkel's remarks about the lack of moral and political justification for the expulsion of German minorities by saying that "pulling things out of the past and their one-sided interpretation certainly does not help the development of mutual relations."
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."
He welcomed the victory of the Polish ruling Law and Justice in the Polish parliamentary elections in October 2019 and recalled that the ODS and PiS had been cooperating for a long time in a common faction in the European Parliament. He stated that he would limit the negative impacts of mining on Czech territory in the Polish brown coal mine Turów near the Czech border.
He 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.
At the beginning of June 2020, unknown perpetrators spray-painted the Prague statue of the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, which stands at Winston Churchill Square in Žižkov, with the inscription "He was a racist. Black Lives Matter." The motto refers to a wave of protests against police brutality and racism, triggered by the murder of George Floyd in the United States. Fiala condemned the vandal attack on Churchill's statue and declared that spraying the statue of "the great democratic politician Winston Churchill, who had contributed to the defeat of Adolf Hitler," is "stupid and shameful."
He rejected any involvement of Russia and China in the construction of the new unit of the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant. Regarding human impact on climate change, he said that "the answer is not entirely clear."
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."
- Petr Fiala, Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor
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- "Čeští vinaři dohánějí ty moravské". iDNES.cz (in Czech). 2 November 2005. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
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