Michal Horáček

Michal Horáček

Michal Horáček

Having entered Charles University’s Faculty of Journalism in 1970, he was expelled in 1974 following an intervention by the Secret Police. Arrested at the Prague Airport upon his arrival from the United States, he was put into a detention jail and later charged with forgery. Expelled from the Charles University, he tried his luck at life-guarding, dishwashing and other walks of life, and finally landed a job at a co-operative offering work opportunities for the disabled. Since 1977, he started publishing abroad: first in Australia, later in Great Britain and in America. By summer 1989, Michal Horáček and the local rock star of the time, Michael Kocáb, established a civic initiative called MOST (Bridge). It sole objective was to provide grounds for eventual talks between the Communist government and the dissidents.

Having published his bestselling eyewitness account of the inner workings of the revolution, How the Ice Was Broken, Michal Horáček earned enough financial means to start a more ambitious project: Fortuna, Czechoslovakia’s first bookmaking firm. By the time he sold it, Fortuna was a huge company, employing over 3,000 people and yearly grossing billions in turnover. At the same time, it became well known for its support of a number of charities. Since its inception, Fortuna, a stock-holding company, had Michal Horáček as Chairman of the Board and CEO. 

In 1989, Michal Horáček took an active part in politics because he felt that society was facing great historical challenges that he should help facilitate. In 2016, he thought the situation was similar: a struggle between honest participation in building liberal democratic society and cementing relationships with like-minded allies in the European and Euro-Atlantic space on one hand, and forces that wish to derail the course of Czech politics set by the Velvet revolution on the other hand dramatically escalated, requiring personal involvement of those who can play a significant part in it.
In spring 2016 he conceded he might stand as presidential candidate, and in autumn of the same year, he announced his candidacy “unequivocally and irreversibly“.