Prague Castle - Honourable Chairmen, honourable Senators and MP's, honourable Ministers,
Let me start today with thanking to those of you who voted for me a week ago and to all those struggling to keep the dignity of the presidential election last Friday and Saturday. This is a value in its own right.
I consider it a really strange privilege, but at the moment I am giving my fifth candidate speech already. I have checked that since the birth of our modern state, nobody has had this task or opportunity or honour.
It can be a sign of the absence of an absolutely non-disputable presidential authority. However, it can also be a sign of a strong polarization and non-cooperativeness of our political life and that in this respect the presidential election is only the tip of an iceberg that is seen a bit too well. As the planet's icebergs have been melting since 1850 already (and not in recent years only), this iceberg may melt too. I wish it were so. And I believe the whole Czech public would wish so too.
To put it straight, I do not wish a silent, nearly unnoticed melting of our extraordinary era of political freedom and democracy and the related opportunities or even the probability of re-experiencing tight elections results and the difficulties when forming government coalitions, but I wish a really democratic and dignified presidential election takes place.
Read more about the first presidential ballot on Friday February 8 and Saturday February 9:
It will probably not be possible to erase all of last week's demagogy, lies, offences and other ugly things from our citizens' awareness. I wish the participants of today's election were able to look into one another's eyes when it's over. This is something some of them were not able to do after last week's Friday and Saturday.
A week ago, I tried to summarise my presidential career, offered my experience and lifelong love for our country and asked you to support my candidature. I am not going to repeat the same reasons today.
In April, I should be the main speaker at the annual memorial gathering by Abraham Lincoln's grave in Springfield, Illinois, taking place on the anniversary of his death. Therefore, I went through various writings of his and found a speech he held in 1865, i.e. when running for his second presidency.
Let me quote an extract from the beginning: "On the occasion of my second speech I have less reasons for a long speech than before. After four years in office, when I had to declare my opinion on each public issue, there is little left I can comment upon." I have a very similar feeling today.
Some of you used the previous election for duels rather than for the evaluation of the candidates' qualities. I am not going to comment on this, it probably must be so, even though the form or dimensions were rather surprising. However, some of you described me as a man of extreme and bizarre opinions and a man of the past. I have to say a few key words about this which I might have not yet said to you.
If you wish a future when your free voting is supervised and everybody daring speak out their opinion is intimidated then I am the man of the past.
If you enjoy the atmosphere of hostility, conflicts, denouncing and ridiculing, then I cannot be your candidate as in all my political career I struggled for fair political competition and a search for consensus and always refused rudeness and offences.
If you wish to ignore our civilisation's thousand-year long traditions, its Christian values, the emphasis on traditional family and respect for every living human being, do not vote for me since I respect these values.
If you wish to live in a future shaped up by fashionable ideas when smoking is prohibited but illegal drugs tolerated, when marriage is on the verge of extinction and couples go to Town Halls to register only, when the old and sick are mercifully euthanized, when we are told what to eat and drink and how we can talk then this is not my programme. This is not my vision of the future.
If you desire a future in which the Czech Republic does not protect its own interests but follows passively the will of the officers of these or those international bodies then I am the man of past.
If you view the Czech koruna as a residuum of the past and want to get rid of it as soon as possible chose another candidate, as I am going to support the existence of our currency as long as it is profitable for Czech citizens.
If you want to live in a future when ill-founded measures affecting not only the socially weakest but especially the third world's poor countries in a rash fight against potential slight global warming then I prefer yesterday.
I could go on and on with this negative demarcation but I was, am and will always favour positive attitudes and views of the world.
I have devoted the last twenty years and most of my life to our country. I did so gladly and from my deepest persuasion. It was, despite all the difficulties, a period of prosperity for our republic. Not only the economic one.
The average lifespan got longer. The quality of medical care grew. The quality of air and water in rivers improved immensely. We have moved terribly but forget a bit too quickly what used to be.
I believe in the Czech Republic. I believe in its inhabitants. I love my country and will work here no matter how today's election ends up. However, in the first place I will struggle for our freedom and national solidarity.
Five years ago, I cited Alois Rašín, whose death anniversary falls on these days, and I want to cite him once again. Shortly before his death he said these memorable words: "If we keep together, we will keep the republic."
Let us go this way. Only then will Czech Republic remain strong, independent and a good place for life. If you see it similarly, vote for me. Be it by secret or open ballot. The latter would probably paradoxically be better in the light of the recent experiences. If you elect me, I will try to increase trust and cooperativeness on out political scene.
Thank you for your attention.