Czech press survey - January 18


18.01.2014 13:13

Prague - All major Czech dailies today comment on Friday´s appointment of Social Democrat (CSSD) chairman Bohuslav Sobotka as prime minister by President Milos Zeman.


Dvoudenní kongres Občanské demokratické strany (ODS) se konal 18. ledna v Olomouci. Na snímku kandidát na předsedu ODS Petr Fiala, profesor politologie a exministr školství, vystupuje s volebním projevem. ČTK Peřina Luděk

"The overture is over, we have a new prime minister," Alexandr Mitrofanov writes in daily Pravo today, commenting on CSSD chairman Sobotka´s appointment.

He recalls that Sobotka was appointed quite a long time since the late-October 2013 early general election but it was not probable that President Milos Zeman would seriously help establish Sobotka´s coalition government of the CSSD, the ANO movement and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL).

During the appointment, Zeman did not hide his irony, expressing doubts about the professional qualities of the proposed members of the new cabinet, Mitrofanov notes.

However, if Zeman keeps his promise, Sobotka´s team will assume office at the end of January, he adds.

Mitrofanov writes that the new government will be under an unbelievably strong pressure.

First is will have to restore people´s trust in politics as an activity that, if in right hands, is able to improve their lives. The other stimulus might be Zeman alone if he takes up the role of an avenger, Mitrofanov says.

"The new prime minister realises the situation most of all. He is playing for everything in his political career. This, too, is a suitable mood for an active management of the government," Mitrofanov concludes in Pravo

President Milos Zeman has eventually appointed Bohuslav Sobotka a prime minister with apparent annoyance and it is not completely sure that the Czech Republic will have a legitimate government by the end of January, which Zeman has promised, Martin Zverina writes in Lidove noviny (LN) today.

At the moment not only the government coalition but also the opposition must wish that Sobotka succeeded. It does not mean that the opposition gave up its natural duty to sharply criticise the government, but because the government´s instability would strengthen Zeman´s position and weaken the parliament in his favour, Zverina writes.

He adds that Zeman is really unpredictable and it cannot be ruled out that the whole process of the government´s appointment will depend on his momentary temper.

"Nevertheless, he is really not used to surrender if there is at least a hypothetical chance of a success," Zverina points out.

This is why Sobotka can be sure that the president will be one of his sharpest critics who will soon invite him to consultations to Prague Castle, Zverina writes, wishing Sobotka good luck.

President Milos Zeman has unintentionally helped Bohuslav Sobotka, which is a paradox, Jana Bendova writes in Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) today.

The "dull" Sobotka has grown up to manhood thanks to Zeman´s tricks and obstacles. Sobotka decided to play hard - he "disarmed" the internal opposition in his CSSD and cemented the split party at least temporarily, Bendova points out.

Besides, thanks to Zeman´s unwillingness to respect constitutional habits and appoint a prime minister soon, Sobotka has won support even of those who would stand strongly against him otherwise, since these people, though they did not vote for any of the coalition parties, consider the observance of the rules of the game much more important than the current situation, Bendova says.

Zeman has also helped Sobotka by prolonging the life of the Jiri Rusnok caretaker cabinet, which has lost public trust gradually, she adds.

"The effect of the president´s unwanted help will fade away quickly. However, Sobotka has gained at least something: he knows now what he can expect from himself, what he is capable and incapable of in the uneasy political cohabitation with Zeman," Bendova writes in conclusion.

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