Czech press survey - December 30

Ilustrační foto - Premiér Petr Nečas (vpravo) předal 17. června na Pražském hradě prezidentovi republiky Miloši Zemanovi (vlevo) svou demisi.

published: 30.12.2013, 07:22 | updated: 30.12.2013 07:45:56

Prague - The story of the Czech Republic 2013 has been the most colourful in the past few years, Petr Honzejk writes in daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) today and enumerates the milestones of political developments in the year that is ending.

Milos Zeman, the first president chosen in a direct election, is dismantling parliamentary democracy. Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS), who stepped down in June, is the first prime minister standing on the brink of criminal prosecution, Honzejk writes.

The outgoing government of Jiri Rusnok is the first government ruling without legitimacy. Billionaire Andrej Babis, ANO movement chairman, is the first large businessman to wield political power, Honzejk writes.

He writes that the outgoing year is a year of disasters rather than a year of crossroads.

Zeman has run into opposition of democratic politicians as well as the public. His illegitimate government is ending. Courts have stood up against the criminalisation of politics, Honzejk writes.

However, he writes that the country will be standing at the most important crossroads next year. Where will Andrej Babis be heading and what will the country do with him?

The trend towards political resentment in the Czech Republic was definitively confirmed in the October general election, Anna Durnova, who lectures political science at Vienna University, writes in Pravo.

The resentment was proved proved not only by the lower support for the two once-time major parties, the Civic Democrats (ODS) and Social Democrats (CSSD), but also the growth in the popularity of populist groupings, such as the Dawn and the ANO movement.

Yet, people start to extend their resentment to the ANO movement now as well, Durnova writes.

The dubious nomination of Martin Stropnicky for defence minister, the awkward holiday of Martin Komarek who preferred it to participating in government negotiations, and the consistently sarcastic reactions of ANO head Andrej Babis to media commentaries start to slowly change the image of this "pure" political movement, not tarnished with politics.

It is only a matter of time before voters start to lament that ANO also only seeks its own interests, Durnova writes.

The mini-battle for the Agriculture Ministry within the government-forming negotiations shows the character of the new political representatives whose particular players openly act as proponents of interest groups, Martin Zverina writes in Lidove noviny (LN).

The Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) are considered protectors of small private farmers. The Social Democrats (CSSD), thanks to their senator Jan Veleba, chairman of the Agrarian Chamber, support large businesspeople, Zverina writes.

And President Milos Zeman, pressing for current "caretaker" minister Miroslav Toman to stay at the ministry in the position of deputy wants to preserve at least part of his influence while he is playing into the hands of particular interests, Zverina writes.

He writes that the ANO movement that does business in the farming sphere is standing aside, but only at first sight.

That political parties aggregate certain group interests is normal and it has always been so, but never before has there been such an overt corporativist attitude where a mere agreement of interest groups concerned plays the decisive role, Zverina writes.


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