Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Foreign media: Zeman divides Czech society

ČTK |
13 March 2017

Prague, March 10 (CTK) - President Milos Zeman is a personality dividing Czech society, the U.S. Foreign Policy magazine said in reaction to Zeman's having announced his presidential bid again on Friday.

A similar view is held by the German radio station Deutschlandfunk.

Foreign Policy highlights the scandal with Holocaust survivor Jiri Brady last year.

Brady said the Presidential Office had at first told him that he would be decorated on the national holiday on October 28, 2016, but after Culture Minister Daniel Herman, a relative of Brady, met the Tibetan Dalai Lama, he was no longer on the list of the decorated personalities.

Zeman is controversial due to his attitudes in favour of Russia and critical of Islam, the Austrian Der Standard writes.

"With his views and behaviour, Zeman divides Czech society," Stefan Heinlein told the German radio station Deutschlandfunk.

Zeman has his following especially at the countryside and in small towns which he regularly visits.

The residents of large towns often feel ashamed of him, Heinlein writes, adding that Zeman is standing a big chance of winning again, to which he will be helped by the invitation to the USA where he is due to meet Donald Trump.

Although Zeman claimed he was for Europe after his election [in 2013], the announcement of his repeated candidature was accompanied by an obvious preference of Russia and China, the server of the Belgian paper La Libre writes.

Zeman is in a permanent conflict with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD), ostentatiously supporting his main rival Andrej Babis (ANO), it adds.

When reporting on Zeman's repeated candidature, the Russian news agency TASS published a photo of his, highlighting Russian President Vladimir Putin's having said during Zeman's visit to Moscow in May 2015: "Thanks to such leaders as Zeman the relations between Russia and the EU will be renewed and developed."

Zeman is opposed to the sanctions against Russia over its Ukrainian policy.

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