The conservative party was founded in 2009 through its separation from the Christian democrats due to a long time tension between the conservative and the more liberal-wing. The new party has gained a lot of popularity thanks to the role of the chairman, Prince Karel Schwarzenberg, who has been nominated as the leading person of the political party. The ideological origin relates the party to the Christian-Jewish European heritage. Further fundamental elements of TOP 09 are liberty of individuals, family as a fundamental part of society, common responsibility of individuals to society, shared values of the state, rule of law, and social solidarity in terms of the free market and public goods. The foreign policy of the party emphasizes transatlantic relations (similar to ODS) and the European dimension foreign policy similar to KDU-ČLS. Generally, TOP 09 strengthens its priorities of responsibility in domestic and foreign policy (TOP 09 2010). Their election gain in the 2010 election was not excepted by party leaders nor by the public – 18 % of all votes resulted in TOP 09 becoming the second strongest right-wing political party and the third strongest party overall.
|Votes||16.70 %||11.99 %||15.95%|
Source: volby.cz, europarl.europa.eu
Election manifesto 2010
The party is in favour of accepting the common European currency – the Euro – which is seen as a big transfer of national sovereignty towards a supranational institution. Support for this integration is limited in two ways: the first involves security issues and the second is the on-going unifying of national and cultural identities within the EU.
One example of a strong commitment to traditional use of the national landscape is the forestry industry, considered to be a valuable national resource that must be maintained for cultivation for future generations. However, included in its forestry policy is a significant role for the effectiveness of the free market. From the economic point of view, the party wants to prevent growing (economic and societal) differences between cities and villages due to the conservation of the agricultural industry and other landscape activities. Generally, the party opposes any further globalisation and commercialisation of traditional values. The security issue is a key TOP 09 value. Although the party supports European integration, preservation of a traditional way of agriculture, landscape, and carrying of the countryside have a higher priority. The biggest emphasis is on forestry as a carrier of national heritage. The main meaning of security is in terms of foreign policy and of the obligation of the Czech Republic to allied partners in security and economic international organisations. The most important organisations in terms of commitments are the EU and NATO. The relations of these commitments are reciprocal – TOP 09 links the security and common obligation to historical experience. The EU and NATO are the most important security partners. TOP 09 supports the integration of the EU in defence matters, but the prime role in defence issues belongs to NATO. The connection to European policy is very narrow and the importance of the security dimension will be more and more important. The key institutions of the Czech energy sector (ČEZ, ČEPRO etc.) should remain under Czech ownership. The main reason is to keep this very important industry sector under state control and to avoid the possible labyrinthine of the ownership of various key companies. There is also some fear as a result of the Russian activity in the “gas crisis” in 2009 and its knock-on consequences on Czech industry and politics. The conservative accent of the party tends to create an aversion to the societal commercialisation. At the same time that does not mean that the party opposes the globalisation trend in general.
Election manifesto 2013
The 2013 election manifesto follows the spirit of the 2010 election manifesto and is classified as belonging to the European approach. The party stresses continuing European integration not only as an aspiration, but in proposing steps for further Czech integration, such as acceding to the European Financial Agreement; deepening the common market; and joining the Eurozone. However, in the latter case the party calls for defending national interests, although the definition of that is missing. The EU and NATO are still understood as an area that protects the security of the Czech Republic. In this respect, EU enlargement should continue. TOP 09 understands neighbouring countries as natural partners for Czech foreign policy. These partners share common historical and cultural experiences. Therefore, human rights should be promoted in the foreign policy. Although Russia is a relevant economic partner, the manifesto stresses the authoritarian nature of its regime as well. The manifesto defines the culture of a small nation such as the Czech Republic as a basis for further societal development.
The manifesto develops this perception showing the important role of the Church as a guarantee of continued spiritual and social development. Similarly to other parties, the manifesto perceives the landscape as a historical value that should be cultivated. In the same way, the local traditions should be further developed as well. On the national level, the party emphasises social inclusion; society should develop according to the interests of all. Surprisingly, the role of the state in the strategic energy sector should increase. In this sense, the energy sector is understood as being important for national sovereignty. The 2013 election manifesto belongs to the European category.