Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Havel embarrassed about Klaus, Public Affairs' stand on Bátora

ČTK |
14 September 2011

Prague, Sept 13 (CTK) - Former Czech president Vaclav Havel is embarrassed about the stand of the Public Affairs (VV) junior government party and President Vaclav Klaus on Ladislav Batora, who was linked with an extremist party in the past, working at the Education Ministry, server iDnes.cz reports Tuesday.

The server quoted from an interview Havel gave to the daily Mlada fronta Dnes after half a year he spent mainly in his countryside home recovering from a respiratory illness he suffered in March.

Havel, a former dissident, said he is frustrated at the deepening estrangement between politcians and the public.

"I was much surprised at the Public Affairs' opinion that semi-fascist or semi-anti-Semite or other similar opinions should only be pronounced after working hours or at a time of some kind of hours off, but not in the office," Havel said.

He was alluding to the activities of Batora who enjoys Klaus's and his aides' support.

Klaus said recently that the Batora case is only a veil to cover up attacks targeted at him personally.

"Yes, this is exactly so: a decorator also founded his party in a Munich pub and not at his workplace. True, someone probably breaches this sometimes and listens to the new party right at Prague Castle, and even at a discord with his own assertion that small parties threaten democracy," Havel said, alluding to Klaus's previous statement about small parties.

Havel was also probably alluding to the reception of Vit Barta, the VV's informal leader, by Klaus at Prague Castle.

Batora, chairman of the ultra-conservative D.O.S.T. grouping, was running for the nationalist National Party in a general election in the past.

Several years ago he attended a lecture on Czech anti-Semitism, staged by the ultra-nationalist Patriotic Front.

He also praised a Czech anti-Semite writing called Decline of the Slavs.

Batora came to the centre of attention most recently in connection with the homosexual Prague Pride festival. He criticised Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda (Civic Democrats, ODS) and some foreign ambassadors' support to it.

Together with other D.O.S.T. representatives he wrote an open letter to U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic Norman Eisen in this connection and he personally handed it to the embassy's employees.

Education Minister Josef Dobes (VV) employed Batora as his economic adviser despite protests by politicians and NGOs in April and he appointed him the ministry's personnel department head during the summer holiday.

Batora then caused a rift between the government parties when he offended TOP 09 chairman and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg on the Facebook.

Under the pressure of TOP 09 whose ministers refused to attend government meetings over Batora, Dobes shifted Batora to the post of deputy head of his office.

Dobes defended Batora several times in the past, saying he is working well and is a patriot and a conservative Catholic.

Havel, who will turn 75 in October, also spoke in the interview about his health condition.

"I had a complicated lung inflammation with various accompanying problems for a long time. This is fortunately fading away though I - not my doctor - think it takes too long," Havel said.

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