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Czech News in English » Opinion » LN: Zeman may grow brown in latter half of his presidency

LN: Zeman may grow brown in latter half of his presidency

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Prague, Sept 7 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman will most probably remain in the latter half of his presidency a morose, stubborn and uncontrollable old man who will be gradually turning brown, Josef Mlejnek Jr writes in daily Lidove noviny (LN) Monday.

Zeman, 70, chosen in the first direct election for a five-year term, was inaugurated on March 8, 2013.

Mlejnek writes that Zeman closed the first half of his term symbolically with a trip to China.

Zeman’s foreign political activities usually express sympathy for a powerful dictatorship, namely Russia or China, challenge the Czech Republic’s ties of alliance and the foreign policy pursued by the government, and Zeman justifies them by the need for economic pragmatism, Mlejnek writes.

He writes that from the point of view of economy, it is a question of whether Zeman really paves the country’s way to the East, or whether he is rather a mascot which certain business groups (not only Czech, but perhaps Chinese ones) use to better assert their business interests that need not be identical with the Czech Republic’s at all.

Shortly after Zeman became president, his activities indicated an effort to introduce a semi-presidential regime in the country, but he lost this game, Mlejnek writes.

He writes that his party failed in the general election and the idea of a majority with Communists (KSCM) and Social Democrats (CSSD) came to nothing.

The attempt at a putsch within the CSSD aimed against party leader Bohuslav Sobotka ended awkwardly, which was a heavy blow to Zeman, Mlejnek writes.

That is also why he has concentrated on foreign policy, even though he has practically no powers in this field. Yet, quite a lot can be achieved in foreign policy because it is performed mainly by speaking and travelling and much depends on where a politician goes and whom he meets there, Mlejnek writes.

He writes that the weakness of Sobotka’s government which would not have to approve the budget of a problematic trip and provide the government plane for him plays into Zeman’s hands.

That is why the government is fully responsible for Zeman’s outrageous foreign political steps not only formally, Mlejnek writs.

Zeman also acts similarly at home, uttering strong, if not irritating statements. He intentionally tries to keep his voter base alert, in an emotional tension in relation to “enemies,” that is those whose income and social status ranks among the “higher strata,” Mlejnek writes.

When elected, Zeman said he is the president “of the lower ten million” [which is roughly the number of Czech inhabitants], but he knows well that to be re-elected, support of around three million voters would suffice, Mlejnek writes.

He writes that in the run-off of the presidential election in 2013, Zeman obtained 2,717,405 votes.

Naturally, success requires advancement to the run-off, Mlejnek adds.

Public opinion polls must confirm Zeman’s conviction that betting on fear of migrants is correct, Mlejnek writes.

However, the current migration wave and its direct as well as indirect consequences will probably rewrite the political scene in a majority of European countries in a way which was rather unimaginable still in the spring, Mlejnek writes.

The developments may even generate fundamental changes not dissimilar from those after the fall of communism, but they would probably be far from that positive, Mlejnek writes.

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