Czech press survey - February 20


20.02.2014 07:40

Prague - The Czech new coalition government of Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) has quite good prospects to survive the whole four year term despite sceptics forecasting its fall, Lukas Jelinek writes in daily Pravo today.


Premiér Bohuslav Sobotka při závěrečném vystoupení v Poslanecké sněmovně, která 18. února v Praze hlasovala o vyjádření důvěry jeho koaliční vládě. ČTK Kamaryt Michal

Though all three coalition partners, the Social Democrats, ANO movement and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), have different views of both budget and ethical topics they have many things in common in their programmes.

Moreover, Sobotka can profit from various bonuses, which his predecessors could not rely on, Jelinak adds.

The first one is President Milos Zeman as both the coalition and opposition parties fear that after the government´s fall Zeman would again try to form his own "cabinet of experts" ignoring the parties´ will.

Another novelty is quite a colourful composition of the Chamber of Deputies.

Though it seems as purely preposterous at first sight, the Christian Democrats could be replaced with the Dawn of Direct Democracy in the cabinet if need be and the Communists (KSCM) might give silent support to Sobotka´s government if it lost majority, Jelinek writes.

The CSSD and ANO as the strongest coalition parties bear the main responsibility for the cabinet´s survival. However, even the KDU-CSL can positively contribute to the joint governing, Jelinek says.

It is human (and very Czech) to foretell evil but in the case of Sobotka´s cabinet it is rather premature, Jelinek writes in conclusion.

The opposition TOP 09, the former junior government party, relies on "candidates for everything," who are both popular and not controversial, in the upcoming EP elections, Martin Zverina writes in Lidove noviny (LN) today.

He recalls that the TOP 09´s list of candidates includes one former vice-governor of the Czech CNB central bank (Ludek Niedermayer), one political renegade (forme Civic Democrat deputy head and minister Jiri Pospisil) and one representative of the mayors (Stanislav Polcak), from the party´s partner movement in parliament. Only an actress or a singer is missing, Zverina adds.

However, he admits that TOP 09 is behaving like its political competitors that are also nominating unaffiliated experts without a clear political opinion or popular personalities.

This year´s EP elections will be hard and pro-European parties such as TOP 09 would have to face both constructive and populist objections and attacks in them. This is why the choice of their election leaders is not trivial, Zverina points out.

"Trustworthiness still plays an important role for a politician, especially ahead of elections, and to rely on popularity, which is unstable, only might not be so terribly witty," Zverina concludes in LN.

The Communists (KSCM) miss the strengthening of cosmic research in the new government´s policy statement, which is logical in view of their past successes in this field under the previous regime, Karel Steigerwald writes ironically in Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) today.

He reminds of the first and only Czech (Czechoslovak) cosmonaut Vladimir Remek, former MEP for the KSCM and current ambassador to Russia, whose cosmic flight it the 1970s "was to symbolically express Czechs´ reconciliation with the Russian (Soviet) occupation (in 1968) and their love for the invader."

Remek has now actually the same tasks in Moscow under Putin as he had in the space in the past, Steigerwald writes.

If the Communists pushed through a stronger emphasis on cosmic research, they could, for instance, send their deputy, Stalinist teacher Marta Semelova, to Mars, Stegerwald says.

However, she has rather returned from Mars, which her views show, he writes, recalling that Semelova supported the execution of Czech democratic politician Milada Horakova, sentenced to death in a communist political trial on the basis of fabricated charges, in 1950.

Semelova´s return to Mars would solve many problems of the Communists. However it is not certain that Sobotka´s government would like to fund it. It did not include it in its policy statement after all, Steigerwald concludes ironically.


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