Monday, 17 December 2018

Denník N: Zeman, birth of gov't to affect Czech foreign course

ČTK |
23 May 2018

Bratislava, May 22 (CTK) - The concessions the potential government parties may make to the Communist Party (KSCM) in exchange for its toleration of a minority cabinet may influence the foreign political course of the Czech Republic, Slovak daily Dennik N wrote on Tuesday.

It reacts to the KSCM's opposition to the pledge by the nascent government of ANO and the Social Democrats (CSSD) to reinforce Czech participation in military missions abroad.

Another Slovak daily, Sme, writes that President Milos Zeman has pushed the country's foreign political course further eastwards by his statements about the Czech production of Novichok, a nerve-paralysing substance that was used to poison former Russian agent Sergei Skripal in Britain in early March.

London accused Russia of the attack, which Russia dismissed.

ANO leader "Andrej Babis wants to govern in a coalition with the CSSD and with silent support from the Communists. He poses a big problem himself, but his planned cooperation with the far-left party shows how dearly the country might pay for [his] pact with the extremist party," Dennik N writes.

It alludes to the prosecution Babis, the current and expected next PM, faces over a suspected EU subsidy fraud.

The ANO-CSSD government's draft policy statement provides for a reinforcement of Czech participation in foreign military missions, but the KSCM is opposed to the Czech soldiers being sent to the Baltics, Dennik N writes.

"The concessions [ANO and the CSSD] are gradually making to the extremists (the KSCM still has problem condemning the show trials from the 1950s) are simply not without any impact. In the Czech Republic, they can influence the country's foreign political course," Dennik N writes.

Sme, on its part, labels Zeman's statement about the Czech production of Novichok as a sabotage of Prague's interests.

"By supporting the Russian version of the [Novichok] story, which the Kremlin's propaganda used immediately, Zeman pushed the Czech foreign political course further away from the Atlantic-European preferences towards the autocratic regimes of the East," Sme writes.

It also criticises Zeman's refusal to appoint CSSD MEP Miroslav Poche as foreign minister.

Zeman uses his manoeuvring space in a way he understands it, without any respect for the constitution or courts, and he promotes nothing but his narrow-minded emotions, Sme writes, adding that Zeman is opposed to Poche only because the latter supported Zeman's rival candidate in the January presidential election.

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