Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Klaus, Zeman form power group, cheat voters, says Schwarzenberg

21 January 2013

Olomouc, North Moravia, Jan 20 (CTK) - 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, told journalists Sunday.

Hana Burianova, head of Zeman's election team, strongly dismissed Schwarzenberg's view.

"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) said this in reaction to Klaus and Zeman's fierce criticism of his statements on the Czech postwar history.

Burianova told CTK that such a statement is rather impudent from Schwarzenberg who is closely connected with Finance Minister and Miroslav Kalousek (TOP 09).

She said it was Kalousek, backed by entrepreneurs Zdenek Bakala and Richard Hava, who actually controls all actions taken by Schwarzenberg.

Schwarzenberg is TOP 09 chairman, Kalousek is the first deputy chairman and the party's mastermind.

Kalousek is one of the most unpopular figure of the current cabinet, partly due to his austerity measures and partly due to his controversial past, especially his work at the Defence Ministry and links to arms maker Hava.

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 Sunday 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.

Klaus's amnesty was criticised for applying to some closely watched cases of corruption and serious economic crime. The opposition Social Democrats (CSSD) said people linked to some of the amnestied persons might take part in the preparation of the amnesty. The CSSD said Klaus should refute the "dark suspicion."

Schwarzenberg said the future form of Czech politics is at stake in the forthcoming presidential election.

In the 1990s, Klaus led the right-wing Civic Democrats (ODS) and Zeman headed the rival 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.

Schwarzenberg indicated earlier this week that the current widespread corruption had its roots in the opposition agreement, which replaced the democratic system of one big party ruling and another checking its steps with a monopoly.

Zeman dismissed this interpretation in one of the presidential duels. He pointed out that the CSSD-ODS pact produced a stable government that led the country out of a crisis and ruled its whole four-year term. Zeman said this was much better than the three unstable and short-lived coalition governments that ruled from 2002 to 2006.

Zeman also recalled that he made a pact with the rival ODS in 1998 only after other centrist parties, and especially Freedom Union (US-DEU) leader Jan Ruml, had rejected his offer to form a coalition government with the CSSD.

Zeman left the CSSD and formed his own party several years ago, the extra-parliamentary SPOZ. Klaus is not an ODS member anymore either as he gave up his post of honorary chairman four years ago, following disagreement with then ODS leader Mirek Topolanek.

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 Sunday," 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 Sunday 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 not 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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