Czech press survey - January 13


13.01.2014 07:28

Prague - Czech President Milos Zeman evidently does not strive for an accommodating approach to enable the birth of a new government but he intentionally takes dissident stands thwarting the political mainstream´s efforts, Petr Fischer writes in daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) today.


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

This political strategy enables Zeman to attract the public´s attention, control the political debate and also push through his will effectively, irrespective of the majority opinion, Fischer writes.

Zeman´s public appearance on Friday showed that he will insist on the replacement of some candidates for ministers proposed to him by possible new PM Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD), Fischer writes.

Zeman indicated that he would nod to the Sobotka-proposed cabinet lineup if Zeman´s people, or members of the outgoing caretaker government, occupied the posts of deputy ministers in the new government, but this is unacceptable for the new coalition, judging mainly by the CSSD´s reaction, Fischer writes.

Zeman will therefore step up his pressure. Sobotka asserts he will make no concessions, as a result of which Zeman might further protract the Sobotka cabinet´s appointment, Fischer says.

It would probably be the best if the dispute ended up at the Constitutional Court, whose verdict would indicate whether the president or prime minister-designate should have the upper hand in forming the cabinet, Fischer says.

It is laudable that President Milos Zeman wants to hold regular separate meetings with the new cabinet members in order to discuss their plans and mainly financing of the steps promised by the government, but he cannot do so without appointing the cabinet first, Alexandr Mitrofanov writes in Pravo.

He points to a fresh public opinion poll showing that three-quarters of Czechs want Zeman to use his presidential powers cautiously and to take constitutional habits into account.

This is demanded not only by a majority of those who supported Zeman´s rival, conservative TOP 09 head Karel Schwarzenberg, in the direct presidential election a year ago, but even by a majority of Zeman´s supporters, Mitrofanov writes.

It would be naive to expect Zeman to meet this demand of people. The possible new prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, and the candidates for ministers whom Zeman intends to grill in the weeks to come know what they can expect and they are probably psychologically prepared for it, Mitrofanov writes.

They should treat Zeman in a way men usually treat their mother-in-law - let him speak for a while and listen attentively, but by no means should they allow him to take the upper hand, Mitrofanov concludes.

President Milos Zeman wants a civil service bill to be passed quickly not only for the sake of the EU and as a step to stabilise Czech bureaucracy, but also for the sake of his own particular aims, Martin Zverina writes in Lidove noviny (LN).

One of them is Zeman´s plan to keep his people, referred to as "experts," at ministries [as deputy ministers] under the new cabinet. However, it is rather desirable and rightful for the pro-Zeman officials, installed by the "illegitimate" caretaker cabinet, to be swept out of the ministries, Zverina writes.

In order to prevent this, Zeman is trying to make the impression that the civil service bill must take effect as quickly as possible. However, his labelling June as the deadline set by the EU is untrue or inaccurate at least. No such deadline exists and nothing would happen if the bill took effect as from January 2015, as planned, Zverina writes.

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