Czech press survey - January 28


28.01.2014 07:34

Prague - The current dispute between PM-designate Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) and future finance minister Andrej Babis (ANO) over whether the CSSD should fill posts of deputy ministers at ANO-led ministries is of no use to the country, Alexandr Mitrofanov writes in daily Pravo today.


Zleva předseda hnutí ANO Andrej Babiš, předseda ČSSD Bohuslav Sobotka a předseda KDU-ČSL Pavel Bělobrádek vystoupili 25. listopadu v Praze na tiskové konferenci po prvním společném povolebním jednání všech tří stran chystané vládní koalice. ČTK Vondrouš Roman

He says Sobotka insists on the posts being filled with CSSD candidates because as a CSSD leader he has to distribute posts to both his allies and opponents in the party in order to reward the former and pacify the latter, Mitrofanov writes.

Unlike Sobotka, Babis does not have a political party but an entity he owns. ANO´s unemancipated MPs and future ministers enable him treat ANO as his possession, Mitrofanov writes.

This, however, may end as soon as the ministers take up their offices. If so, the government could disintegrate if the coalition partners provided no help to Babis or even if they tried to benefit from his weakened position, Mitrofanov writes.

It is embarrassing that the Czech Republic grants perks to its former presidents but it grants nothing to its former prime ministers though the latter faced a stronger pressure and had to work much harder while in office, Martin Zverina writes in Lidove noviny (LN).

The only prime minister whom the state "compensated" for his departure from the post was Social Democrat (CSSD) Vladimir Spidla (PM in 2002-2004), but he received the new post of EU commissioner also because the CSSD needed his removal from the Czech scene, Zverina writes.

Now that the former prime minister Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, 2010-2013) has taken up a job of a private entrepreneur´s adviser, it reflects the state´s ungratefulness to him but also the atmosphere in Czech society. People and state attorneys would condemn it as political corruption if an ex-premier were given a high post, in a state-controlled company for example, Zverina writes.

A decent compensation for Necas would be his catapulting to the post of president. The careers of ex-PMs Vaclav Klaus and Milos Zeman did culminate this way, Zverina writes.

The idea of Necas as president may seem crazy now. However, he is relatively young, he did not steal (while in high politics) and the next president will be a candidate opposed to the present [centre-left] government, Zverina adds.

In Hospodarske noviny (HN), Jindrich Sidlo praises ANO leader Andrej Babis´s choice of Jan Kasl as ANO´s leader in the autumn 2014 local elections in Prague and candidate for mayor.

Kasl, a well-known architect, was Prague mayor for the Civic Democrats (ODS) in 1998-2002 and his tenure was not accompanied by any big scandals, mainly in comparison with the tenure of his successor Pavel Bem (ODS), Sidlo writes.

Kasl is also valuable for Babis because he dramatically fell out with the [now unpopular] ODS in the past, Sidlo says.

Kasl may have a decent chance in the autumn polls, mainly if the present ruler of Prague, TOP 09, failed to field a distinguished rival candidate for mayor, Sidlo says.

However, he warns that ANO, a movement billionaire Babis has built "from above," may not keep control over all candidates running for it in the local elections all over the country and that its lists of candidates may be infiltrated by suspicious people working for infamous godfathers, Sidlo writes.

This does not apply to Kasl, but still it is necessary to watch what other candidates will run for ANO, Sidlo adds.

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