Czech press survey - January 24


24.01.2014 07:33

Prague - Regular politics will return to the Czech Republic next Wednesday, on January 29, when President Milos Zeman is to appoint the coalition government three months after the general election, Bohumil Pecinka writes in daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) today.


Prezident Miloš Zeman (na snímku) navštívil 15. ledna provoz výrobce regálových sytémů OZAP Toužim. Prohlédl si výrobní prostory a promluvil k zaměstnancům. ČTK Eret Petr

Zeman finally nodded to the lineup of Bohuslav Sobotka´s cabinet comprising his Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), after long obstructions, Pecinka recalls.

The phase of Czech politics from June 2013, when the centre-right government of Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) collapsed, until the appointment of Sobotka´s team will be once labelled as an era in which parliamentarism and regular politics were suffocated for months, Pecinka says.

Consequently, the sciences, such as "Zemanology," which replaces the exploration of political and economic processes with speculations about psychological conditions and intentions of supreme politicians, were thriving in this period, Pecinka writes.

"Let us hope that several things will be different as from next Wednesday," he concludes.

Zbynek Petracek asks in Lidove noviny (LN) whether the Czech Republic should express solitary with one side of the conflict in Ukraine, namely the opposition.

In this respect he reminds of the legacy of former Czech president Vaclav Havel´s ethos of solidarity.

This is not an academic question, Petracek adds.

He recalls that future Czech foreign minister Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD) said Czech diplomacy must talk to both sides of the conflict in Ukraine. In accordance with this principle, if President Milos Zeman invited his Ukrainian opposite number Viktor Yanukovych to Prague, Zaoralek wants to invite Ukrainian opposition leader Wladimir Klitschko.

Petracek admits that the state needs authentic information from both sides. However, does it mean that the Czech Republic cannot afford to express solidarity? he asks.

It is interesting that outgoing foreign minister Jan Kohout expressed this solidarity, calling on the Ukrainian government to avoid violence, release detained activists and abolish the legislation drastically restricting the freedom of expression and assembly, Petracek says.

Kohout´s words reflect Havel´s solidarity ethos, Petracek writes, asking whether Zaoralek will work his way through to this stance, too.

ANO chairman Andrej Babis, future deputy PM and finance minister, behaves like a "politically autonomous" person and not a member of the government coalition respecting agreements with his partners, Petr Fischer writes in Hospodarske noviny (HN) today.

This could be expected. But in spite of it, Babis´s recent fight against the long-term practice that the coalition parties have at least one deputy at the ministries they do not head is surprising, not only because his movement actually agreed on this model with the rest of the coalition, the Social Democrats (CSSD) and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), a week ago, Fischer adds.

Babis argues that each minister has the right to choose his/her collaborators, while professional qualities should play the key role, Fischer notes.

He says Babis can see things differently and he is fighting for his rights, in particular for the right to be a sole, politically fully autonomous lord at his ministry.

"It should become clear then whether the Finance Ministry under his leadership will remain part of the government team or will turn into a pure marketing tool of Andrej Babis," Fischer writes in HN.

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