Czech press survey - January 4


04.01.2014 13:08

Prague - The Czech Republic is in so poor a state that it is a miracle that bold volunteers have emerged who are ready to govern it, and it would be absurd if someone tried to thwart their efforts, Jan Keller writes in Pravo, alluding to the expected appointment of a new cabinet by President Milos Zeman.


Šéf ČSSD Bohuslav Sobotka přijel 3. ledna do Lán na schůzku s prezidentem Milošem Zemanem, kterého má informovat o návrhu na složení vlády. ČTK Krumphanzl Michal

It is hardly possible to find a cogent reason for Zeman to mar the establishment of a cabinet of Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD), Keller writes.

A government is urgently needed by the country tormented with troubles that the previous governments either ignored or solved in a detrimental way, Keller says.

Zeman can hardly reject the ministerial candidates proposed to him by Sobotka. For what can he criticise the candidates who are to take up ministerial posts vacated by infamous figures such as Josef Dobes (former education minister), Jaromir Drabek (labour and social affairs), Vlasta Parkanova (defence) and "some unnamed politicians who managed to destroy the sector entrusted to them even while sleeping," Keller writes.

His last words probably target Karel Schwarzenberg (TOP 09), foreign minister in 2007-2013 known for slumbering at parliament and other sessions.

Even if the new ministers were chosen by lot drawing, they could hardly be worse than their predecessors, Keller says.

By refusing to officially disclose the list of ministerial candidates, which is publicly known anyway, potential prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka has left a door open for himself to replace one or two candidates who may be minded by President Milos Zeman, Martin Zverina writes in Lidove noviny (LN).

Zeman has time until early next week to decide on whether to trigger a conflict between him and the brand-new government coalition. If he does so, he can expect a tough response, including from the opposition ranks, Zverina writes.

Zeman, weakened by the allied SPOZ party´s election flop and a decline in his popularity, will hardly feel like provoking the conflict. He has nowhere to hurry. The coalition will start squabbling sooner or later, thus giving an opportunity for his presidential powers to expand, Zverina writes.

Moreover, if Zeman nodded to the Sobotka-proposed cabinet lineup for now, it would be an attractive chance for him to label all who predicted obstructions on his part as idiots, Zverina adds.

A new Czech government is going to be established, but will it be a government? Karel Steigerwald asks in Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD), adding that the candidates for ministers, except for "the eager Lubomir Zaoralek," seem to shun publicity and their views, experience and qualities remain unknown to the public.

Now it is important whether President Milos Zeman will recognise the professional competence of the candidates, the list of whom potential PM Bohuslav Sobotka presented to him on Friday, Steigerwald says.

Zeman will probably recognise them. Judging by the competences of the outgoing caretaker cabinet of Jiri Rusnok (which Zeman initiated and appointed against the will of parliament last July), the competence criteria he applies are far from tough, Steigerwald writes.

After all, Zeman is not left with any other possibility. He will even nod to ministerial seats going to Andrej Babis, whose name figures among former communist secret police agents, and also to Zaoralek, one of the "traitors" thwarting his election as president in 2003, Steigerwald writes.

The new cabinet will face the tasks persisting from the past: budget gaps and the state debt, and reforms of the pension, health care and welfare systems. The cabinet plans to solve the tasks differently from its predecessors, but no one knows how for now, Steigerwald writes.

Everyone wonders when the new coalition may disintegrate like its predecessors, he adds.

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