Philosopher and one-time dissident Jan Sokol is perhaps best-known among the Czech public as a failed presidential candidate, having missed out to Václav Klaus in the final round of voting in 2003, the last time the country’s head of state was chosen by legislators. Professor Sokol has known the current, directly elected president since before 1989 – and offers sharp criticism of Miloš Zeman in this the second half of a two-part interview. But first we discuss the period when, after the fall of communism, he was finally allowed to pursue an academic
Czech Radio marked the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution on Monday with an international conference on the fall of communism in Central Europe and the transformation processes that followed. Aside from leading experts in the fields of economics, political sciences and journalism, the speakers’ list also featured the names of prominent former dissidents and politicians such as Lech Wałęsa, Magdaléna Vášáryová and Václav Klaus.
Former president Václav Klaus, the last surviving Czech RAF pilot Emil
Boček, Srbian film director Emir Kusturica and the president of the
Supreme Audit Office Miloslav Kala are among the personalities who will
receive a high state distinction from President Miloš Zeman on the
occasion of Czechoslovak Independence Day, on October 28th.
Although the list of personalities selected for awards is confidential the president himself revealed some of the laureates ahead of the public holiday this year.
According to Prague Castle the laureates have been informed about the honour and the list of selected personalities has been countersigned by the prime minister.
Weeks after his expulsion from the Civic Democrats, anti-EU MP Václav Klaus Jr. has revealed plans to launch a new party following May’s Euro elections. His father, the well-known former prime minister and president Václav Klaus, is set to occupy an honorary role in the new grouping. I discussed the politics and prospects of “Young Klaus” – as many call him in Czech – with political scientist Petr Just.
Former president Václav Klaus says that if the Civic Democrats had
expelled his son, Václav Klaus Jr., a few weeks sooner, the two would have
had time to found a party under which the latter could have stood in
elections to the European Parliament in May. He made the comment in an
interview for the newspaper Blesk published three days after Václav Klaus
Jr. had his membership of the Civic Democrats revoked.
Mr. Klaus also said that the Civic Democrats should change their name as, he argued, they bear no resemblance today to the party he founded in the 1990s.
The Ukrainian ambassador to Prague, Yevhen Perebyjnis, has hit back at a
statement by former Czech president Václav Klaus, who said on Sunday that
Ukraine was being goaded by Western political elites, including that of the
Czech Republic, to provoke Russia. Mr. Perebyjnis asked on Twitter whether
Czechoslovakia had provoked Nazi Germany to action in 1938.
Mr. Klaus said on TV Prima that Russian President Vladimir Putin was behaving cautiously and soberly and not reacting to each provocation, adding that this was fortunate. Mr. Perebyjnis asked whether Hitler too had been cautious and sober.
The Ukrainian ambassador’s comments received support from Czech MEP Jaromír Štětina and former TOP 09 leader Miroslav Kalousek.
President Miloš Zeman has pardoned a man imprisoned for bribe taking, his
spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said on Tuesday. The man was also found guilty
of abuse of power and obstructing the execution of an official decision.
He has been suffering from an oncological disease for some years and had no previous criminal record, said Mr. Ovčáček.
Russia does not present a threat to the Czech Republic, unlike the EU with
its numerous directives, former president Václav Klaus said on Sunday in
an interview for commercial TV Prima. Commenting on international and
domestic affairs, Mr. Klaus said he agreed with President Donald Trump that
Russia should be allowed to re-join the G7.
As regards developments at home, the politician who founded the Civic Democrats and who later left the party over ideological differences, criticized its present leader Petr Fiala for not using the opportunity to form a centre-right coalition with the ANO party.
Mr. Klaus said ANO was an “ideologically shapeless mass” that could swing left or right, and pushing it right would have served Czech interests better.
President Miloš Zeman has said he was deeply offended by an institute
founded by his predecessor Václav Klaus, when it issued criticism of the
head of state for parts of his recent inaugural address. He made the
statement on Thursday on TV Barrandov, where the president appears with
The Václav Klaus Institute had criticized the inaugural address as an
inappropriate vehicle for what it called his vengeful settling of accounts
with his opponents; during the speech the president criticized businessman
Zdeněk Bakala and journalists who work for the Economia group as well as
The institute is not alone in criticizing the president for his speech: some lawmakers walked out even before it was over and students and other citizens have taken part in demonstrations around the country taking issue with Mr Zeman’s singling out of journalists and public broadcaster Czech TV.