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Klaus: New ministers are not experts coming out of nowhere

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A day after government coalition parties agreed with the Social Democrats that statistical office head Jan Fischer should be the new prime minister, President Václav Klaus gave an interview to Czech Radio. And he also talked about domestic politics and about the government crisis. “I am basically satisfied with this initial step to solving the situation,” said Klaus. And he added that he has known Jan Fischer for three decades. “Not that we went to pub together, but we know each other, and I even think that his summer house is close to ours,” he said.

Four parliamentary parties have agreed on the shape of the new government. Were you surprised at the agreement? And what do you think about it?
First, I am basically satisfied with the agreement. Of course. I do not want to say any final conclusions beforehand because the parties will beyond doubt bring it to their political boards and there various radicals, dissatisfied that they were left behind, can hinder and disrupt the agreement in all sorts of ways. So I do not want to give any triumphant statements. You know well that I wanted an agreement. I did not want political parties to not talk to one another and to steal so-called defectors from one another. So if the parties, wrangling immensely with one another in the past three years, managed to sit down at one table and the reality forced them to talk to one another, then everyone has to confess that this is what I have called for constantly since the elections of 2006. So you cannot hear from me any other statement but that I am basically satisfied with this initial step to solving the situation.

And are you satisfied with Jan Fischer who should head the government of experts?
I have to admit that as various names were mentioned I did not think of this one. On the other hand, I do know Mr. Fischer, I think that we met at some statistical debates and conferences somewhere in the 1980s already. I as an economist and he is a statistician. So in this respect we have definitely known each other for thirty years. Not that we went to pub together, but we know each other, and I even think that his summer house is close to ours and we met there in such a nice little pub in Bystřice u Benešova when we all spent weekends there. So I know him and think he is a judicious man who has never been radically politically oriented to either side.

So you are able to cooperate with him…
I think I definitely am. If things go this way, then definitely yes.

When are you going to appoint the new government? Are we going to have a government of experts as early as 9 May?
I would polemize about the term government of experts. To my opinion, even though I do not know all the names, they are not any experts coming out of nowhere who should lead the ministries. As far as I can hear some of the names and they are key personalities, deputy ministers apparently linked to this or that political party, then this is not any expert, this is just someone who was skipped in nomination by a colleague and frowned because he wanted to be a minister for a long time.
So if it is these people, and I have already heard a few names and would define them this way, as deputy ministers discontent for not being ministers, then I would not call them a government of experts.

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