James Bond fan Fiala named Czech Prime Minister

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Prague (AFP) – Petr Fiala, who was named Czech Prime Minister on Sunday, is a James Bond fan who entered politics after becoming the country’s first political science professor after the fall of communism.

The bespectacled bearded man who carefully protects his privacy is taking on the biggest mission of his life after leading the center-right alliance Ensemble to a narrow election victory in October.

“I’m James Bond actually,” he once went so far as to say in an interview.

“Bond can shoot well and so can I. He also speaks many languages ​​and is well educated, and I hope I will complete that as well,” said Fiala.

Together – the right-wing Civic Democrats (ODS) of Fiala, the small centrist Christian Democrats and the center-right TOP 09 – defeated the populist ANO movement of incumbent billionaire Prime Minister Andrej Babis.

“We have given the Czech Republic a chance for a better future. This is a change, we are a change, you are a change,” Fiala told supporters after the vote.

Together teamed up with a group of centrist and independent mayors from the Pirate Party to win a majority of 108 seats out of the 200 members of the Czech parliament.

Fiala, a 57-year-old literature enthusiast and former amateur footballer, started in politics as a scientific adviser to the Prime Minister in 2011, then a year later became Minister of Education.

He only became a member of parliament following a general election in October 2013.

Fiala joined the ODS a month later and became president in January 2014, replacing former Prime Minister Petr Necas whose government fell in 2013 amid a mistress scandal.

Born in the second Czech city of Brno on September 1, 1964, Fiala was raised in a conservative family where lunch was served strictly at noon to the sound of church bells.

“In our family, it was natural that you had a university education, a cultural life and an interest in public and political affairs,” said Fiala.

“I was brought up in a democratic spirit. For me, democracy and freedom are things that I have considered right since I was a child.”

Fiala graduated in Czech language and literature as well as in history and worked as a historian and journalist.

Pragmatic believer

After the overthrow of the totalitarian communist regime in the former Czechoslovakia in 1989, Fiala co-founded the political science department of Masaryk University in Brno.

He headed the department from 1993 to 2002 before taking the direction of international relations and European studies for two years.

Appointed the country’s first professor of political science in 2002, Fiala served as rector of Masaryk University from 2004 to 2011.

He is the author of several books on politics, religion and history and is sometimes criticized as boring and devoid of emotion.

A pragmatic believer, Fiala was baptized in 1986 while the church was still persecuted under the Communist government.

“Faith means to me a certain interpretation of the world, but it doesn’t have an answer for every situation,” Fiala said in an interview.

“The fundamental thing is that man is created as a free being,” he added.

Despite his professorial demeanor, Fiala was an active football player until the age of 40. He still enjoys tennis, shooting, skiing and swimming.

He is also a fan of jazz music.

Fiala married his wife Jana in 1992. They have three children.

They met during the Velvet Revolution in 1989, and Fiala once said that part of their first actual date took place in a cemetery.

“My personal life merges with my social life to the point that I met Liberty and my future wife in November 1989. And since then I have liked both.”

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