Czech press survey - February 11


11.02.2014 07:34

Prague - The Czech lustration law is obsolete but still it would be foolish to scrap it now, Petr Kambersky writes in Lidove noviny (LN) today, ahead of parliament´s vote on the Communist proposal to scrap the law barring members of pre-1989 repressive bodies from posts in the state administration.


Schůze Poslanecké sněmovny, hlasování - ilustrační foto. ČTK Kamaryt Michal

True, democracy is now faced by other risks than in someone´s collaboration with the then communist secret police (StB), Kambersky admits.

However, the archaic law should be scrapped by democrats, if they find it no longer useful, but definitely not by the Communists due to whom the Czech Republic passed the law in 1991, Kambersky points out.

At the time, Czechs feared that former StB agents might try to undermine the birth of the country´s new system or even ally with their foreign counterparts for this purpose. The attempted putsch in Russia showed that the apprehensions in this respect were rightful, Kambersky says.

However, even then the new lustration law was meant to be in force for five years. Why does it still remain valid now, after half a century when former StB officers pose no danger any longer? he asks.

Elsewhere in Lidove noviny (LN), Martin Zverina challenges the planned commission the new Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) has initiated to monitor the return of confiscated property to churches.

As an experienced bureaucrat, Sobotka plans to name as many as five ministers to the commission. This will prevent it from working effectively, however, Zverina writes.

If the commission were extended also to include the deputies of the ministers who are not among its members, and representatives of all 16 churches involved, the commission would have about 30 members. This would require a special administrative clerk and a secretary who would provide the members with piles of documents, Zverina says.

This cannot result but in chaos and time wasting. Sobotka and his CSSD want to change the church restitution conditions but by establishing the commission he would rather help conserve them, Zverina writes.

Rather strangely, Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka blessed the athletes from the Czech Republic, the EU´s most atheistic country, at the Sochi Olympics in the presence of President Milos Zeman who previously fiercely opposed the return of property to churches, mainly the Catholics, Petr Fischer writes in Hospodarske noviny (HN).

The Olympic games seem to have a real charm, if they help people overcome prejudices, barriers and resentment, Fischer says.

However, the reason of Zeman and Duka´s joint appearance in Sochi may not be the Olympics, he says.

The president and the Czech Catholic primate have understood each other for a long time now. Not in terms of ideology, like in the case of Duka and Zeman´s predecessor Vaclav Klaus, but politically, Fischer writes.

Both Zeman and Duka are of the view that they should be seen together with the crowd, he says.

Such "policy" is comprehensible in the case of the president, but it is embarrassing if pursued by the Catholic primate, Fischer writes.

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