Czech press survey - December 12

published: 12.12.2013, 07:27 | updated: 12.12.2013 07:30:54

Prague - Only a failure to agree on a quite complicated system of safeguards within the coalition may mar the negotiation on a new Czech government of the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), Bohumil Pecinka writes in the daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) today.

After the night meeting of the three parties´ leaders it is clear that they will not be at odds about the programme. They have practically decided on it, Pecinka adds.

A more important question is where the coalition will find finances for its planned huge redistribution of public resources, such as the pensions´ rise, the abolition of patients´ fees and a lower VAT rate.

The division of ministerial posts might also be complicated though the decision on the most important ones has been made, Pecinka says.

Besides, apart from the official coalition, another one is emerging in parliament, being led by the ANO movement´s chairman, billionaire Andrej Babis, Pecinka points out.

He adds that due to this situation the government policy has "a double centre of gravity," which will weaken both the Social and Christian Democrats in the future.

However, if the talks on the future cabinet of CSSD chairman Bohuslav Sobotka collapsed, it would be caused by the complex structure of safeguards, required by the Christian Democrats, which the other two parties fear a lot, Pecinka writes in conclusion.

It is a historical paradox that the nascent government to be headed by the Social Democrats (CSSD) will start working by lowering taxes, Petr Honzejk writes in Hospodarske noviny (HN) today.

He recalls that the three-party coalition plans to introduce a new, second reduced VAT rate of 5 percent to apply to medicines, books, diapers and baby food. Besides, parents of small children should pay a lower income tax.

This "Christmas gift" to Czech citizens may cause both a factual and political problem, Honzejk writes.

"The lowering of taxes without a proper compensation is a populist experiment that must end up in a rising budget deficit," he writes.

He says it is not sure whether the nascent cabinet will survive until the regular general election in four years. The parties themselves have laid mines on their path that will be difficult to avoid.

The coalition´s survival depends on how quickly it will be able to admit the budget reality and say that the Christmas gift must be paid and agree on how to do it, Honzejk concludes in HN.

The post of ombudsman, public defender of citizens´ rights, must be occupied by a personality who enjoys a natural respect, otherwise it would lose its sense, Zbynek Petracek writes in Lidove noviny (LN) today, commenting on the decision of Czech Ombudsman Pavel Varvarovsky to resign as of December 20.

The ombudsman does not have many formal powers and this is why his office strongly depends on his/her personal qualities.

Honzejk recalls that the first Czech ombudsman, the late Otakar Motejl, was such a strong, broadly respected personality.

Honzejk asks whether Varvarovsky´s successor will be able to preserve the high reputation of the Ombudsman´s office from Motejl´s era or whether political parties will push through someone of their favourites to the position.

"If it were current deputy ombudsman Stanislav Krecek, ´Motejl´s office´ would lose its substance," Honzejk concludes


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