Monday, 21 April 2014

Respekt: Klaus claims influence by attacking Havel's legacy

18 December 2012

Prague, Dec 17 (CTK) - Vaclav Klaus and his aides have launched a frontal attack on Vaclav Havel's legacy with the aim to strengthen Klaus's position before his March departure as Czech president, bring all allies together and seek a strategy for them to keep influence, Czech weekly Respekt's editorial says yesterday.

Respekt reacts to Klaus's recent statements attacking Havel, who died a year ago. At a meeting with his Slovak counterpart, Klaus said the Czech scene, unlike the Slovak, has been "harmed by attacks of the so-called non-political politics," which "destroyed [people's] respect for authorities."

Non-political politics was a term promoted by Havel, an advocate of open democracy and the civic society principle.

Later, when commenting on his aide Petr Hajek's book, which describes Havel as an effective instrument of lie and hatred, Klaus said he actually shared Hajek's criticism of the historical role of Vaclav Havel, Respekt writes.

Klaus's opinion that non-political politics has not undermined authorities in Slovakia is wrong. By saying this, he undoubtedly hinted at the situation where he, in his capacity as then prime minister in the 1990s, was permanently asked unpleasant questions by the media, intellectuals and the public, while nothing hampered the rule of his Slovak counterpart Vladimir Meciar, Respekt writes.

However, everyone could see how such unhampered governance looks like. Intimidation of opponents, restriction of the freedom of speech, kidnapping of people by secret services and murders of bothersome witnesses - simply, a mafia-controlled state, Respekt writes, referring to Slovakia under Meciar's government (1993-1998).

The fact that nothing similar occurred in the Czech Republic is perhaps the greatest success of the post-1989 development, not a failure, Respekt points out.

Klaus's idea of an optimal state set-up differs from that promoted by Havel and also by the first Czechoslovak president, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, who called for pluralism, open democracy, people's mistrust of "messiahs," their active participation in politics and their permanent control of those in power.

According to Klaus, the basic parameters of a democratic setup should be preserved. However, within these parameters a small circle of people should have the decisive say and should be left ruling unhampered, Respekt continues.

The chosen circle of those in power then permanently maintains tension and uncertainty in society by constantly searching for enemies, stirring up disputes and asserting that no one else but they can offer certainty on the turbulent scene, Respekt writes, referring to Klaus's idea of governance.

The latest attack on Havel's legacy is an attempt by Klaus and his allies to build a position and keep Klaus influential after his presidential term expires in March. The question of whether Klaus will succeed and how his influence will look like is open now. The answer is fully up to people, Respekt concludes.

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