Czech press survey - January 11


11.01.2014 13:35

Prague - All major Czech dailies today comment on President Milos Zeman press conference at which he announced on Friday that he will appoint Social Democrat (CSSD) leader Bohuslav Sobotka new prime minister on January 17 and at which he voiced reservations about several ministers of the proposed cabinet.


Prezident republiky Miloš Zeman vystoupil 10. ledna v Praze na tiskové konferenci k aktuální politické situaci. ČTK Doležal Michal

President Zeman is unacceptably extending the mandate of the present illegitimate cabinet, the outgoing interim government of Jiri Rusnok, Karel Steigerwald writes in Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD).

Bohuslav Sobotka could have been appointed prime minister already in November or December, or on Three Kings Day, January 6, after the signing of the coalition agreement of the CSSD, ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) at the latest, Steigerwald says.

The whole government could have been named by Zeman on January 7, he adds.

Only the lower house of parliament and future PM Sobotka can stop Zeman in his effort to be an arbitrary mentor, Steigerwald writes.

Will they succeed in it or will there be fifth columns talking of the need to reach agreement with the president? he asks.

The government of so very different political entities as the CSSD, ANO and the KDU-CSL would normally be rather unstable, but Zeman´s repeated attempts to strengthen the role of the president through steps that ignored traditions resulted in the heterogeneous coalition joining against him, Jiri Pehe says in Pravo.

He says the coalition is motivated by the self-preservation instinct because marked concessions to Zeman would clearly move power in the Czech Republic from the political parties and parliament to the president.

Though the Social Democrats remain disunited and the ANO movement is in fact owned by one man, billionaire Andrej Babis, Zeman may considerably contribute to a government that will last four the whole four years and to the strengthening of political parties, Pehe writes.

Jiri Hanak says elsewhere in Pravo that it was noteworthy to hear Zeman claiming on Friday that only few Czech politicians keep their word like he does and he recalls that when Zeman retired from politics and lived in the countryside in the 2000s he repeatedly declared that he would never ever return to politics.

Hanak writes he can understand Zeman´s reservations about possible interior minister Milan Chovanec (CSSD).

It is not only that Chovanec received a BA title after studying merely nine months at university, but mainly that one who betrayed the traitors should not be rewarded with a ministerial seat, Hanak points out.

He recalls that Chovanec first, shortly after the October general election, took part in a conspiratorial meeting of Zeman CSSD politicians that was to remove Sobotka as party leader, and then he allied with Sobotka and betrayed the putschist group headed by Michal Hasek.

But Zeman could not have said this loud because he would be linked with his ally Hasek, now dormant, who clearly lied about the meeting in online broadcastings, Hanak writes.

He says he cannot understand people from South Moravia that they still respect Hasek as the governor of their region.

The unyielding attitude that CSSD leader Sobotka showed after his meeting with Zeman on Friday is the only stance possible for him, Petr Pesek writes in Lidove noviny (LN).

First, Sobotka´s opponents in the CSSD are looking forward to his failure.

Second, any weakness on his side would be noticed by his coalition partners that would began to increase their demands, especially in the selection of deputy ministers.

And last but not least, this would be only the beginning of concessions to the expansive Zeman, Pesek writes.

Not to yield to pressure is a tactic that Sobotka successfully used against the post-election resistance of CSSD putschists. He won, although many people began to consider him the loser, Pesek says.

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