published: 20.09.2012, 00:57 | updated: 20.09.2012 06:19:04
Prague - Czech President Vaclav Klaus took advantage of Prime Minister Petr Necas´s (Civic Democrats, ODS) silence on the methanol affair, Martin Weiss says in Lidove noviny (LN) daily today, referring to Klaus´s criticism of the prohibition as an unreasonable and exaggerated solution.
The Czech government declared a ban on hard liquor sales and serving last Friday, following an increasing number of deaths caused by tainted spirits. The death toll reached 23 on Wednesday.
Klaus has a dominant influence on the Czech political scene not only because he is strong but also because his opponents are weak, Weiss writes.
He says the methanol crisis is a good example of this.
Klaus´s statement is outrageous from the factual point of view, but masterly from the political point of view, Weiss writes.
Necas may blame nobody but himself for Klaus´s attack on the recently introduced prohibition: he let Health Minister Leos Heger present the state´s alcohol-related measures to the public. This was a mistake and Klaus punished him for it, Weiss says.
Necas kept quiet on the prohibition for six days and Klaus finally decided to launch an attack, Weiss notes.
Klaus showed that a politician may comment on a major domestic issue even when he is on a foreign visit, Weiss writes.
While Klaus was able to talk from Italy, Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek (TOP 09) who was negotiating about a banking union in Cyprus remained silent on the prohibition nearly as long as Necas, Weiss says.
But the short-sighted populism of Klaus´s arguments can be compared only with his own statement from early 2009 when he claimed that the economic crisis would pass in a short time, just like flu, Weiss concludes.
Elsewhere in Lidove noviny, Martin Zverina says it is noteworthy that the greatest concern of the parliamentary healthcare committee head Boris Stastny (ODS) was that the partial prohibition is promptly lifted and safe liquor is available to the citizens as soon as possible.
Such a position is rather surprising for a doctor who has been fighting smokers for years, Zverina says about Stastny.
This may be because socially pathological phenomena caused by alcoholism cannot be seen on X-ray as clearly as the lungs of a smoker, Zverina concludes.
When the prime minister started talking about reopening of the liquor market in the country, the president told us that this liquor market should not have been closed in the first place, Jiri Leschtina writes in Hospodarske noviny (HN).
Prohibition was an unreasonable, muscle-flexing solution, Leschtina quotes Klaus as saying.
Unfortunately, Klaus did not tell us what reasonable and appropriate solution he would have chosen, Leschtina says.
He says it is even more unfortunate that Klaus did not reveal this solution to minister Heger before the partial prohibition was declared last week.
The immediate ban on liquor sales and serving was accepted by both government and opposition politicians. All were aware that without a ban on liquor sales the increase in the number of methanol victims could not have been stopped, Leschtina points out.
Klaus is now flexing his muscles by criticising this decision, he says.
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