Jan Fischer, ex-communist with passion for numbers

9th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

The head of the Czech Statistical Office claims he has no political ambitions -- he says he will serve his five months in cabinet until early elections due by mid-October and then return to his lifetime passion.

Prague -- Jan Fischer, who will be appointed as Czech interim prime minister Thursday, has dedicated his life to statistics which he calls "an interesting adventure."

The head of the Czech Statistical Office claims he has no political ambitions -- he says he will serve his five months in cabinet until early elections due by mid-October and then return to his lifetime passion.

"I would understand my role above all as a service to the people of this country, and that's the important thing," he said in a newspaper interview this week.

Czech President Vaclav Klaus recently described Fischer as a "prudent man who has never been radically politically oriented to one or the other side" -- despite his communist past.

Fischer was a member of the Communist Party between 1980 and 1989 during the Cold War -- he said he had signed up "to be able to pursue my career."

He joined the statistical office after graduation in 1974. In 1990, he became its deputy chairman, and in 2003 he took the top job.

The 58-year-old man born to a family of mathematicians and statisticians spent his entire career at the office except for three years when he worked for a research company and at the University of Economics.

In 2001, he was also a member of an International Monetary Fund mission that looked at the feasibility of setting up a statistics service in East Timor.

In the newspaper interview, Fischer said the vital experience his current job had given him would help him oversee the European Union as the Czech Republic now holds the rotating EU presidency.

"I have experience with presiding owing to my job, and I believe I will handle this task with a team of co-workers," said Fischer.

As the country's top statistician, Fischer often attended cabinet meetings and he "knows the whole agenda in detail," said outgoing Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek.

As prime minister, Fischer may also benefit from knowing Klaus for 30 years.

"Not that we would go out for a beer together, but I think his summer house is close to ours and that we used to see each other in this cosy little pub," the president recalled this week.

Fischer, born January 2, 1951 in Prague, lives with his second wife, a former secretary and assistant. He has two sons and a daughter.

The man with a prominent nose, who says "the best relaxation for me is sleep," speaks English and has some command of Russian, French and German.

AFP/Expatica

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