Fri 28 Feb, 2003 09:05 pm
Comments? What do you think this will mean - for Czech politics, for the Czech government, for integration in the EU, relations with Germany?
Was there somebody you would have preferred to take over from Vaclav Havel?
"The 61-year-old Klaus, the candidate of the right-wing Civic Democrats (ODS) he led for more than a decade until last year, succeeds Vaclav Havel. Havel stepped down Feb. 3, after 13 years in power.
Klaus's election is a blow to the ruling coalition led by the center-left Social Democrats (CSSD), whose internal bickering opened the door to Prague Castle for the controversial economist.
Klaus won in the third round of balloting, defeating Charles University professor Jan Sokol, a former anti-communist dissident. Klaus won 142 votes in secret ballot, one vote more than he needed to win the five-year term. Sokol was supported by 124 deputies and senators."
"In the third round of secret balloting today, Klaus received 142 votes in the 281-member joint session of parliament, just one vote more than the simple majority needed to win. Klaus, a former center-right prime minister, received crucial support from nonaligned communists enabling him to beat out the candidate of the governing coalition, former Education Minister and university dean Jan Sokol."
"In the 28 February secret ballot, Klaus's candidacy appeared to benefit from the support of the opposition Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM), whose chairman announced his party's support before the voting. Klaus's own ODS party controls 58 seats in the lower house and 26 Senate seats. The ruling center-left coalition controls 101 seats in the house and 42 senate seats, suggesting that at least 19 of the 100 coalition deputies present voted for Klaus in the first round. The senior ruling Social Democratic Party (CSSD) controls 70 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 11 Senate seats. Many analysts predicted that some CSSD lawmakers would back Klaus in an attempt to discredit Prime Minister and CSSD Chairman Vladimir Spidla."
Wow, I'll be interested to see how it all plays out....
Well, with him in the presidency, Spidla's government will have a struggle to survive. Relations with France and Germany will get worse. And surely, he will try to keep Czechia out of the EU.
However, I don't think, a Czech president - even when he is called Klaus - has got enough power to change governmental politics in an essential way.
i guess in a way the transformation of vaclav klaus - from apostle of free-market economics to populist nationalist - actually finally brought the czech republic in line with the rest of central europe.
elsewhere in the region (hungary, poland, lithuania, croatia in a way), for ten years now the main political divide has been between a left that pushed to speed up integration with the EU as well as the transformation to free-marketism itself, and a right that was the more protectionistic, economically, and distinguished itself in being the more ideological as well as, specifically, the more nationalistic and sometimes xenophobic of the two camps.
with the pragmatic, be it slightly corrupt, right of ODS and ODA opposing a more traditionally Labour-type left the Czech Republic was long the exception to this pattern in the 90s. Perhaps no more.
I also found it interesting that some of the unreformed Communists actually helped Klaus to become president, actually. It does go with the above description of Klaus's gradual move to a nationalist, protectionist platform, but does not have a parallel in above-mentioned neighbouring countries. It does have its parallel elsewhere in Eastern Europe, though, of course. This kind of alliance between the far-left and the (far-)right has after all appeared - and made it into power - through most of the 90s in in Slovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia, pitted as it was against a reformist or free-market, pragmatic, and culturally tolerant centre.
i think it's sad, myself, that vaclav havel, after having soldiered on for so long as the nation's conscience, has to face the insult of his long-standing rival/enemy being elected his successor after all, when reputable former dissidents had been proposed earlier ...