published: 19.03.2013, 07:16 | updated: 19.03.2013 07:22:48
Prague - Czech dailies focus on the appointment of General Vlastimil Picek to the post of defence minister in the coalition government of Prime Minister Petr Necas (Civic Democratic Party, ODS).
For the first time in the history of the Czech Republic, a soldier and a Communist will be a minister, though in both cases a former one, Petr Honzejk writes in the financial paper Hospodarske noviny.
Necas often likes to warn of Communists and before this move, he did not have anyone in the government who had a romance with the totalitarian regime, Honzejk writes.
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, head of the conservative TOP 09, said he would not like to have a soldier at the head of the Defence Ministry as "we would be like in Guatemala," he adds.
However, within a "coalition compromise" both principles were discarded and the reasons are obvious, Honzejk writes.
If money matters, principles are discarded, he adds.
Through Picek, the ODS will grab the military procurement and TOP 09 yielded because it, too, will get a share in the spoils, Honzejk writes.
Minister out of fatigue, this is how Martin Zverina calls the process of Picek's selection in Lidove noviny.
Did Necas wait for the spring or the consent of TOP 09? Zverina asks rhetorically.
One can easily describe in detail the complexity of the negotiations about the post of defence minister and the parties' skilful manoeuvring, Zverina writes.
However, the information is only useful for political entomologists, he adds.
The outcome does not correspond with the importance of the office, with the length of the talks and probably also with the effort that was needed for the deal, Zverina writes.
The three months of complicated and protracted negotiations were nothing but a fig leaf for the message that at present, the coalition does not care at all about the Defence Ministry and that it was not worth for its members to find a competent politician for it, he adds.
The dispute over the post of defence minister has revealed that civilian control of the military only relates to the civilian person at the head of the Defence Ministry, Milos Balaban writes in Pravo.
This may be an important element, but certainly not the only one, he adds.
There is a complicated system of "checks and balances" in which the primary checking role rests with the parliament and the Chamber of Deputies defence committee, Balaban writes.
Besides, the civilian control includes a dialogue with the security community as well as communication with media, he adds.
During the tenure of previous ministers, there was little, if any readiness to inform the public regularly about what was happening at the Defence Ministry, although the situation demanded this, Balaban writes.
Given the length of his mandate, the new defence minister cannot have the usual 100 days when he is not attacked. However, he may not resent this as he has already passed the three-month preview, he adds in a veiled reference to Picek's being deputy defence minister until his appointment.
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