Prague, May 18 (CTK) – The Czech National Bank (CNB) seems to be working well despite the heads of the state, Petr Kambersky writes in daily Lidove noviny (LN) on Wednesday, commenting on the fact that President Milos Zeman appointed Vojtech Benda and Tomas Nidetzky new CNB board members on Tuesday.

It is paradoxical: the selection of the central bank members and governors is not done according to the rules and good principles are not respected, yet the CNB has been operating rather well, Kambersky writes.

He says both Benda and Nidetzky worked in the ING Group in the past and they are both friends of Jiri Rusnok who will replace the outgoing CNB governor Miroslav Singer soon.

Rusnok himself became a CNB board member thanks a dubious political bargain and friendship, Kambersky writes.

After the right-wing government of Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) fell in mid-2013, Zeman named a caretaker cabinet of his controversial friends with no regard to the parliament. As Zeman needed to give his government some credit, he persuaded former Social Democrat (CSSD) finance minister Rusnok to become the prime minister, Kambersky writes.

Rusnok worked for the ING Group in 2003-2013 and he was the president of the Czech Association of Pension Funds in 2005-2012.

Kambersky says Rusnok made no secret of the bargain he made – that he would head the government for a few months and then get the post of CNB governor in exchange.

Neither Benda nor Nidetzky are among the best Czech economists in the academic or business spheres, he writes.

Why Michaela Erbenova, one of the directors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), or Czech banking legend Pavel Kysilka are not going to head the central bank? Why Prague University of Economics Vice Rector Petr Dvorak, Filip Pertold from the CERGE economic institute, or academics from the best economic institution in the country, the Institute of Economic Studies of Charles University, are not discussed as candidates for the CNB board members? Kambersky writes.

The Czech Republic has hundreds of economists such as Benda and Nidetzky, he adds.

Despite the odd appointments and repeated controversies, the CNB has been highly respected and independent of politics in its practical steps since the 1990s, Kambersky writes.

President Vaclav Havel caused outrage when he named the completely unknown and young Ludek Niedermayer to the CNB board in 1996. When Havel appointed Zdenek Tuma CNB governor in 2000, it caused a stir, Kambersky says.

Most of the nominations made by President Vaclav Klaus caused controversy as well. Klaus appointed his political allies (Mojmir Hampl), young academics (Vladimir Tomsik) and his friend (Kamil Janacek), he writes.

Let us hope that the CNB will keep its independence of politics despite all the irregularities and apparent political affiliations, Kambersky concludes.