Czech press survey - December 7

Prezident Miloš Zeman poskytl 5. prosince v Praze exkluzivní rozhovor ČTK.

published: 07.12.2013, 13:07 | updated: 07.12.2013 13:10:36

Prague - President Milos Zeman has a new favourite, Andrej Babis, and he is eliminating his old friends, as usual, Vaclav Dolejsi writes in Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) today, referring to Zeman´s return to work after recovering from a knee injury.

Zeman resumed his practice of interfering in the government-forming negotiations and he has also cracked down on his most loyal aides. Presidential Office head Vratislav Mynar will probably end in the post due to his lacking security vetting, Dolejsi writes.

Furthermore, Zeman scolded his aide, financier Martin Nejedly, for having advised him to bet on [anti-Sobotka´s] wing of Michal Hasek in the election-winning Social Democratic Party (CSSD).

Another ally of Zeman, outgoing Interior Minister Martin Pecina, was rebuked by him for handling the problem of dual police presidency instead of leaving it up to his successor.

For the same reason, outgoing Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok was rebuked for making a strategic decision on breaking brown coal mining limits, Dolejsi writes.

Zeman´s ungratefulness to his aides and their merciless elimination is not surprising, as he behaved so in the past already, Dolejsi adds.

Zeman´s new favourite in Andrej Babis, businessman and head of the ANO movement that will probably join the new cabinet. Zeman no longer requires Babis´s clean lustration certificate. In exchange, Babis has supported Zeman´s view that the president can reject a candidate for minister proposed to him, Dolejsi writes.

The Zeman-Babis alliance is only expedient, with the only goal to weaken Sobotka as the new prime minister, he adds.

In Lidove noviny (LN), commentator Lukas Kovanda discusses the 2014 budget bill that the Chamber of Deputies supported in the first reading and that the opposition TOP 09´s ex-finance minister Miroslav Kalousek criticises as adopted too hastily and projecting an unnecessarily high deficit.

Kalousek´s argument that it would do no harm if the bill were discussed more thoroughly with the aim to reduce the deficit and passed only early next year is wrong, as a stop-gap budget regime would threaten, for example, the Czech drawing of subsidies from EU funds, Kovanda writes.

On the other hand, it is true that the draft budget bill was worked out by the outgoing caretaker cabinet that never won the confidence of parliament, he points out.

Kalousek cannot really believe that a re-worked budget´s deficit would be as low as he would like it to be. The new government, now in making and probably to be led by the Social Democrats (CSSD), will never allow this. By no means would the new draft budget profoundly differ from the one whose basic parameters made it through the lower house on Friday, Kovanda says.

Former finance minister Miroslav Kalousek, from TOP 09, which is going into opposition, and Andrej Babis, potential new finance minister, sharply lashed out at each other in the lower house on Friday, thus burying all hopes for Czech politics to acquire a matter-of-fact character, free of ceaseless squabbles and accusations, Alexandr Mitrofanov writes in Pravo.

Babis and Kalousek are protected by their immunity as deputies and they can address unending offends to each other. However, it is unnecessary and it does not benefit voters anyhow. On the contrary, it is a bad example for people to follow, Mitrofanov writes.

The other right-wing opposition party, the former senior ruling Civic Democrats (ODS), seems to behave the other way round. After years of more or less hysterical and arrogant manners of the previous ODS leaders, Mirek Topolanek and Petr Necas, the post of ODS chairman will be sought by Petr Fiala, [former education minister] who has proved himself as a genuine conservative in high politics, Mitrofanov writes.

It is necessary to wait and see whether the ODS will really change and mainly how the infamous godfathers, or businessmen tied with the party, will react to it, Mitrofanov says.

Author:
www.ctk.cz

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