published: 27.02.2013, 07:27 | updated: 27.02.2013 07:30:42
Prague - It is difficult to say which of the two Czech post-1989 presidents, Vaclav Havel and Vaclav Klaus, represented the state better abroad, because each of them was president in a different historical era, Zbynek Petracek writes in daily Lidove noviny today.
When Havel (in office 1989-2003) toured the world as president, he "reaped the dividend" of his own personality [as former leading dissident and Velvet Revolution protagonist] and the persisting euphoria at the Berlin Wall´s collapse, Petracek says.
That is why his foreign programme included meetings with Maoris, aborigines and rain forest Indians in remote regions and he could even afford to delay a plane in order to talk to the Rolling Stones. These were private delights of Havel, which, nevertheless, simultaneously made the Czech Republic visible on the international scene, Petracek writes.
Klaus, whose second five-year mandate ends next week, made his foreign trips in a situation where he did not have to score points for the Czech Republic, because the latter had meanwhile integrated in the western institutions (NATO, the EU). Instead of meeting Maoris, Klaus had series of professional talks such as the EU-Asia summit in Laos, Petracek writes.
A striking circumstance is, however, that Klaus, in his capacity as Czech president, was never invited to pay a state visit to the USA. Unlike Havel, Klaus was not a symbol of U.S.-Czech alliance in Washington´s eyes, Petracek concludes.
The senior ruling Civic Democratic Party (ODS) seems incapable of overcoming its crisis resulting from its post-Klaus leaderships´ attempt to emancipate the party from Vaclav Klaus, its founder and former long-standing chairman, who has been president in the past decade, Alexandr Mitrofanov says in Pravo.
The attempts failed. In addition, the ODS has acquired an image of a grouping controlled by "Godfathers" and designed to bring power and money to them.
Incapable of changing its image, the ODS could only recover if it returned to its roots [as a respectable right-wing party], which some of its members are calling for, Mitrofanov writes.
Such return would mean that a strong man of Klaus´s type would become the ODS leader. However, Klaus is not heading for the ODS helm and the party has no other similar figure. The ODS´s victory in the 2014 elections is unfeasible, judging by its poor voter preferences, Mitrofanov says.
That is why the ODS has no other possibility but to watch the election victory of the senior opposition Social Democracy´s (CSSD) and wait until the [future] governing CSSD will run into a crisis itself, paralysed by its members´ corrupt practices.
However, the [now junior ruling] TOP 09 might replace the ODS as the Czech right leader in the meantime, Mitrofanov writes.
The Constitutional Court (US) is unlikely to react to the opposition´s complaint by banning the return of confiscated property to churches but by accepting the task of assessing the state-church contracts it may set a precedent for other contracts the state would sign in the future, Martin Zverina writes elsewhere in Lidove noviny.
The opposition Social Democrats (CSSD), who probably rejoice at this prospect, should realise that after they come to power one day, their opposition rivals could use the US similarly in leading the political battle, Zverina writes.
Such practice would be evidently harmful. However, once embarked on and even having a positive effect [if the US complied with the complaints], this tendency would be impossible to stop. Both sides involved, i.e. politicians and the US, would have to show restraint in this respect, Zverina writes.
US chairman Pavel Rychetsky is evidently eager to interfere in politics. He would obviously like the US to have the right to suspend assessed laws´ validity. As for politicians, illusions would be inappropriate as well, because generosity is viewed as a weakness and failure in this profession, Zverina concludes.
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