The president of the Czech Republic has publicly backed comments
made by an office deputy in opposition to Prague's upcoming pride event.
In a recent interview, Deputy Chancellor Petr Hajek referred to the capital city's gay pride parade as "a political demonstration ... of a world in which sexual or any other deviation becomes virtue" and called on Prague mayor Bohuslav Svoboda, who has supported the event, to leave the ruling conservative Civic Democratic Party.
While the major opposition Social Democrats (CSSD) and the junior ruling coalition, the Public Affairs party (VV), have condemned Hajek's comments and asked President Vaclav Klaus to speak out against them, the president has refused.
"I resolutely reject the demands voiced by the CSSD and the VV that I distance myself from the statements by Petr Hajek that he made in connection with Mayor Svoboda's patronage of the Prague Pride event," Klaus said in a statement released on his website.
"Though the statements were not mine and I would probably choose slightly different words," he said, "I do not feel any pride in the event either."
Prague's first gay pride festival begins Wednesday.
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