published: 11.03.2013, 07:21 | updated: 11.03.2013 07:31:14
Prague - Controversial and unpopular lobbyist Miroslav Slouf is not among the team the new Czech President Milos Zeman has chosen for his aides, and everything seems to indicate that Zeman has really cut himself off from Slouf, Jiri Kubik writes in daily Mlada fronta Dnes today.
The news seems unbelievable in view of the fact that the Zeman-Slouf alliance lasted 18 years, all the time politically weakening Zeman, who was Social Democrat (CSSD) head in 1993-2001 and PM in 1998-2002, Kubik writes.
In 2003, Zeman failed to be elected president by parliament as a result of a CSSD faction´s opposition to catapulting the Zeman-Slouf tandem to Prague Castle, Kubik points out.
Zeman says he changed his approach to Slouf, a former communist functionary, in January when he heard, at a public debate before the presidential polls, an audio recording of a phone conversation between Slouf and the then underworld boss Frantisek Mrazek from 2000, Kubik writes.
"The result of [my hearing] the recordings is that Miroslav Slouf is not my aide [any more]," Zeman said a week ago.
Let´s hope that his latest choice of collaborators was luckier than in 1998 when he became prime minister, Kubik concludes, alluding to the Sunday disclosure by Zeman of his presidential aides´ names.
It would have been surprising if the then Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman Mirek Topolanek became head of the Presidential Office in 2003 when Vaclav Klaus was elected president for the ODS, but no one is surprised now that the new president, Milos Zeman, has chosen Vratislav Mynar for the Presidential Office head, Petr Honzejk writes in daily Hospodarske noviny.
Mynar chairs the Citizens´ Rights Party (SPOZ) that proposed Zeman´s presidential candidacy and of which Zeman is the honorary chairman.
Zeman´s choice of Mynar has only confirmed that the only sense of the SPOZ´s existence has been a devoted service to Zeman, Honzejk writes.
The question is whether political parties that work as a PR team or a fan club of a single man are - from the point of view of democracy - "islands of negative deviation," Honzejk writes, ironically using the formulation Zeman himself has used to point to negative phenomena in society.
Many examples of such parties´ effect, unfriendly to democracy, can be easily found in history, Honzejk adds.
President Milos Zeman has declared an open boycott of two national dailies, Lidove noviny (LN) and Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD), which is a step unusual with presidents of civilised countries, where reasonable politicians refrain from taking personal vendetta because they know that they can address readers via newspapers, Martin Weiss writes in Lidove noviny.
LN and MfD together address one-third of readers of Czech national dailies, Weiss recalls.
People read newspapers for many different reasons, but at the same time they formulate their political opinion by themselves and freely. A "president of all citizens" should want to address them, Weiss says.
In the Czech Republic, some politicians blacken journalists in hope that the "audience" will applaud such practice. However, in public opinion polls that map various professions´ prestige, politicians figure in the list deep below journalists and their prestige continues plummeting, Weiss concludes.
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