Jaroslav Kubera (16 February 1947 – 20 January 2020) was a Czech Civic Democratic politician who was Senator representing Teplice from 2000 to 2020 and the President of the Senate from 14 November 2018 to 20 January 2020. He previously served as mayor of Teplice from 1994 to 2018. He was often described as one of the most interesting members of parliament due to his often comical or controversial statements.
Kubera was a potential candidate in the 2018 presidential election, gathering enough support from fellow senators to register his candidacy, before deciding not to run.
1 Early life and career
2 Political career
2.1 Mayor of Teplice
2.3 2018 presidential election
2.4 President of the Senate
3 Political views
5 Film appearance
7 External links
Early life and career
Kubera was born in Louny on 16 February 1947. He studied mathematics at Masaryk University and business at the University of Economics, Prague but did not complete his studies. Kubera stated that he left school due to his impatience. He subsequently worked at Sklo Union Teplic and the business department of Elektrosvit Teplice. In 1990 he started working at the municipal bureau in Teplice.
Mayor of Teplice
In 1992, Kubera joined the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and led the party in the Teplice municipal election in 1994, becoming mayor of Teplice. He served six terms as the mayor.
As a mayor, Kubera helped to shape Teplice following the Velvet Revolution. He managed to get media attention with his effort to lower criminality and with attempts to regulate prostitution. He also privatised some municipal companies, including the public transport company, making Teplice the only town in the Czech Republic not having public transport provided by a publicly-owned company.
Kubera led the ODS in the 2018 municipal election and won his last victory. After the election he negotiated a coalition with ANO 2011. He stepped down as mayor of Teplice, allowing his colleague Hynek Hanza to become the new mayor.
See also: Senate district 32 – Teplice
Kubera ran for the Senate in 1998 Senate election. He advanced to the second round from the first place receiving 33% of votes. He faced off against Jaroslav Musial who received 19% in the first round. Kubera then suffered his only electoral defeat when he received 5% less than Musial in the faceoff.
Kubera ran for Senate once again in 2000. Opinion polls conducted prior to the election saw him as a front-runner against Communist candidate Oldřich Bubeníček and Social Democratic candidate Valtr Komárek. An opinion poll published on 23 October 2000 saw Kubera gaining 29% support, against Bubeníček with 23% and Komárek with 18%. Opinion poll published on 1 November 2000 saw Kubera with 26% against Bubeníček's and Komárek's 18%. Kubera eventually received 30% of votes against Bubeníček's 27% and Komárek's 15%. Kubera then defeated Bubeníček in a runoff, receiving 56.5% to become a new senator.
Kubera remained a senator until his death in 2020. He focused on topics he worked on in municipal politics.
Kubera ran for re-election 2006 election. He won the first round with 41% of votes advancing against Oldřich Bubeníček who received 20%. Kubera then defeated Bubeníček in the second round with 61% of votes.
Kubera ran for his third term in 2012. Despite the fact that the Civic Democratic Party suffered heavy losses during the 2012 Senate and regional elections in North Bohemia, Kubera received 40.5% of votes and advanced to the second round with Jaroslav Dubský who had 18.5%. Kubere won a landslide victory in the second round with 67% of the votes.
Kubera intended his third term to be his last one, but in 2018 he decided to run for a fourth term. His main challengers were TOP 09 nominee Pavel Šedlbauer and Senator 21 nominee Zdeněk Bergman. He received 41% of votes to advance with Bergman, who got 21%. Kubera received 55.6% of votes in the second round and defeated Bergman.
2018 presidential election
On 22 August 2015 Kubera announced that he might run for president in 2018. He stated that he would wait to see who else was running and then decide. In February 2017, he stated that his candidacy would also depend on whether his wife wanted to be the first lady. On 20 July 2017 Kubera announced that his candidacy had the signatures of 15 senators from ODS, the Social Democratic Party, ANO 2011, Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party, the Freeholder Party and independents, as well as an endorsement from Přemysl Sobotka, who had run for the presidency in 2013. Kubera stated that he would decide after the 2017 legislative election.
On 22 July 2017, in an interview with Aktuálně.cz, Kubera stated that he would decide whether he was running when he knew who his opponents would be. He stated that he had 19 signatures and would keep gathering signatures among senators. He was also very critical of the current candidates. When asked about Jiří Drahoš, he said that "there are many renowned scientists, but being a president is a political office even though some people might not realise that. The President should care about the Czech Republic, which doesn't mean he should not be in touch with foreign countries, but he should primarily focus on foreign affairs". He was also critical of the idea that society can be led the same way as a state. He stated that politics and society are too complicated to "be expressed by mathematical calculation." On 9 October 2017, Kubera stated that he was unlikely to run, and on 25 October 2017 he confirmed that he would not run.
President of the Senate
After the 2018 Senate election Kubera announced his candidacy for the President of the Senate as a nominee of the Civic Democratic Party. Political scientists such as Jan Gruber and Lukáš Jelínek viewed Kubera's chances as low. They viewed Václav Hampl as the frontrunner. Kubera's chance grew due to negotiations with a smaller Senate faction. The election was held on 14 November 2018. Kubera faced Václav Hampl and Jan Horník. Kubera advanced to the second round with Václav Hampl. Kubera then defeated Hampl with a large margin and replaced Milan Štěch as the President of the Senate.
Kubera stated after he became President of the Senate that he wanted to improve its reputation among the Czech population by meeting citizens and debating the role of the Senate in the Czech political system. He said that he wanted to visit all 81 Senate districts.
On 1 January 2019 Kubera gave the first new year speech of the President of the Senate. He warned about the loss of personal freedoms and criticised excessive regulations.
In June 2019 Kubera supported a petition for the protection of the individual's right to keep and bear arms. When the Senate discussed a proposal to impeach Czech president Miloš Zeman, Kubera stated that he would support only a narrower proposal as he believed the wider proposal was not justified. When Zeman stated in September 2019 that the Czech Republic should retract its recognition of Kosovan independence Kubera rejected it, noting it was just a gesture to please Serbia. Kubera stated that it was impossible to retract the recogntion.
Kubera participated in a reception for delegates from Taiwan, for which he was criticised by the Chinese ambassador to Prague. Kubera then met on 29 September 2019 with the Chinese ambassador and rejected his criticism, stating that the Czech Republic is a sovereign country which the People's Republic of China should respect and not act from a position of power. Kubera announced in October 2019 that he planned to be the first Czech constitutional official to visit Taiwan. His planned visit was criticised by President Zeman who said it was against the Czech national interest. Zeman said he would end their relationship if Kubera went to Taiwan.
On 1 January 2020 Kubera gave his second New Year speech. He criticised the influence of social networks and the green wave. He warned that freedom of speech is threatened. On 14 January 2020 Kubera met with Czech president Miloš Zeman and Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Radek Vondráček for lunch. Kubera defended his planned visit to Taiwan during the meeting.
Kubera was considered a conservative politician. He was very critical of the European Union but did not support the Czech Republic leaving the EU. Kubera believed that member states should have more power than the Union, and was also a critic of Angela Merkel's immigration policy.
Kubera was supportive of the market economy and opposed subsidies, which he believed ruined economies and caused corruption.
Kubera was known for his opposition to anti-smoking legislation. He said that was not fighting for the rights of smokers but wanted to prevent further limits on freedom. He argued that anti-smoking laws would be eventually followed by regulations that would further restrict people's rights, such as laws pursuing fat people, or eventually a ban on sex on Sunday.
Kubera died on 20 January 2020 at Ústí nad Labem Hospital. Jiří Růžička became acting President of the Senate.
His death was a shock for the Czech political scene. Czech president Miloš Zeman expressed regret for his death stating that he considered him as a friend whom he liked despite their differences. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš expressed shock, stating that he could not believe the news. He stated that he liked Kubera, believing they understood each other. Leader of the Civic Democratic Party Petr Fiala expressed great grief, stating that it is unbelievable, as Kubera was energetic at the party's Congress. He stated that ODS and Czech politics lost a great personality who would be hard to replace. Former president Václav Klaus said he could not imagine Czech politics without Kubera. Former Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek expressed shock, noting that Kubera seemed to him an immortal, unstoppable, and never-ending individual. MP Miroslava Němcová said that Kubera was irreplaceable and she would dearly miss him.
In 2017, Kubera appeared in a cameo role as Edvard Beneš in the historical dramatic film Toman.
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