Monday, 21 April 2014

Právo: VV renegades' motives may create fragile gov't

20 April 2012

Prague, April 19 (CTK) - A possible Czech government relying on Karolina Peake's group of Public Affairs (VV) rebels will be unstable and harmful to democracy if the rebels' support is not spontaneous but bought by the coalition partners, TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats (ODS), Jiri Pehe writes in daily Pravo yesterday.

Is the decision of Peake, deputy prime minister who was VV deputy chairwoman, and of her followers to leave the junior government VV a step of political prudence and their dissociation from the VV's untenable practices? Or has the group of VV defectors been "bought" by the ODS and TOP 09 [in order to oust the discredited VV from the government and still preserve the government's majority in parliament]? Pehe asks.

Or is it a combination of both? he asks.

Such questions cannot be avoided for several reasons. Doubts still prevail among people as to whether the switch of Social Democrat (CSSD) deputies Milos Melcak and Michal Pohanka in 2007 was really politically motivated or whether they were "bought," Pehe writes.

In early 2007, when the right and the left each had 100 seats in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies, Melcak and Pohanka, enabled the emergence of the right-wing coalition cabinet of Mirek Topolanek (ODS) and continued to keep it afloat at variance with the stand of the opposition CSSD, for which they were elected.

Speculations about purchases of deputies and senators also accompanied the latest election of the Czech president by the two houses of parliament in 2008, Pehe recalls.

Moreover, the previous big government crisis, which preceded the current one, broke out earlier this month after the suspicion that the ODS and TOP 09 planned to split off some deputies - as many as needed - from the VV one year ago already mounted, Pehe writes.

Speculations also have it that the VV was originally formed as an ODS branch financed by Godfathers linked to the ODS, but later Vit Barta attempted to take the party away from the ODS bosses. To prevent their counter-attack, Barta used the compromising materials he had gathered about the Godfathers, such as Prague entrepreneur Roman Janousek, and allied ODS politicians, Pehe writes.

The destruction of the VV and ousting of Barta would be the latter's logical counter-attack, Pehe writes, alluding to the VV's split this week.

However, none of the VV rebels, who sided with Barta so firmly amid his corruption scandal triggered by the then VV deputy Kristyna Koci last spring, could not stand completely aside of the strange practices in the VV in the past months, Pehe says.

These practices rested not only in bribing influential VV members by Barta, the super guru. They also stemmed from the fact that the VV, a political division of the [then Barta-owned] ABL security agency, was from the beginning managed as a "political washing machine aimed to launder public money," Pehe points out.

Peake was resolutely defending Barta last year. Moreover, she was part of the VV's controversial practices for a long time, which makes it hard for people to believe that her fresh rebellion has been motivated by political idealism, Pehe writes.

"Let's hope that Peake has really been driven by political idealism. If not, there is a real danger that we will soon hear her and the other VV defectors speaking in some secretly wiretapped recordings," Pehe writes, alluding to the VV members' practice of mutual spying and wiretapping, which have surfaced on more occasions in the past year.

This would make a possible government including Peake's group unstable, and it would deal another blow to people's already shattered trust in Czech democracy, Pehe concludes.

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