published: 20.01.2013, 13:30 | updated: 20.01.2013 13:48:17
Olomouc - Outgoing President Vaclav Klaus and presidential candidate Milos Zeman form one power group and they have been deceiving Czech voters for a long time, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, who is Zeman´s rival in the presidential runoff election, said today.
"A big deception of Czech voters has become evident these days. Klaus and Zeman have been claiming for years that they wage an irreconcilable struggle between the right wing and the left wing. Now it can be clearly seen that this is not the point at all. This is because Vaclav Klaus and Milos Zeman form one power group that has stuck together for years," Schwarzenberg (TOP 09) told journalists.
Schwarzenberg said this in reaction to Klaus and Zeman´s fierce criticism of his statements on the Czech postwar history.
He said they distorted his words on former Czechoslovak President Edvard Benes and the Benes Decrees that applied the principle of collective guilt to ethnic Germans.
The Czechs will elect their president for the first time on January 25-26. Klaus and late president Vaclav Havel were chosen by parliament.
Schwarzenberg said today the present situation proves that Klaus and Zeman have a common interest that connects them in times of emergency "same as it connected them in times of the opposition agreement.
"The recent massive amnesty is a part of this pact," he added, referring to a highly controversial amnesty that Klaus declared on New Year´s Day.
In the 1990s, Klaus led the right-wing Civic Democrats (ODS) and Zeman headed the rival Social Democrats (CSSD). In 1998, however, their parties made a power-sharing pact known as "the opposition agreement", within which the ODS tolerated Zeman´s minority government.
Klaus condemned Schwarzenberg´s statements on the Benes Decrees on Saturday.
"The Czech public is not and cannot be indifferent to attempts at challenging the postwar arrangements... (Schwarzenberg´s statements) gave these attempts a completely new dimension and I fear that it will also give them totally new importance," Klaus said then.
Zeman said he cannot respect Schwarzenberg anymore. He said Schwarzenberg spoke like a Sudeten German, not a possible head of the Czech state.
In a television duel with Zeman on Thursday, Schwarzenberg said President Benes and the then Czechoslovak government "would probably find themselves in The Hague today," alluding to the International Court of Justice.
He said the Czech violence against Sudeten German after the end of the war would be "condemned as gross violation of human rights" now.
Schwarzenberg said today his words were manipulated and torn out of context to create fear of a non-existent threat.
He repeatedly said he does not challenge the postwar arrangements that are unchangeable. He added that property in the Czech Republic is threatened.
Schwarzenberg said the statements made by Klaus and Zeman are in conflict with their particular statements and stances from the previous years. He said this shows that "the only thing they are after is power."
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