9th March 2018

Radio Praha: Mixed expectations for Czech President's second term - interview

The 73-year-old veteran politician has largely been out of the spotlight since his narrow win against second round presidential challenger Jiří Drahoš almost six weeks ago. But the presidential oath taken before a joint session of both house of the Czech parliament in the magnificent Vladislav hall at Prague Castle – used for events for more than 500 years - puts Zeman back there again.

After winning re-election Zeman suggested he might be more diplomatic and conciliatory than during his first presidential mandate, when he was often described as a divisive figure whose actions were at the limits or even beyond his constitutional powers.

Vladimíra Dvořáková is a Prague-based political analyst. She doubts whether Zeman-2 will be less interventionist and controversial in the future:

ʺI think that there will be attempts to strengthen the personal power of Mr. Zeman and there could be even less transparency dealing with the people collaborating with him. This, I think, is the main problem of his politics.

ʺYou can agree or disagree with his politics, but the fact that we do not know something about his advisors, Chinese advisor, or his Chancellor - who does not have clearance to get access to secret information - these are things that I would say are dangerous. I do not suppose that it will be better.ʺ

And with the Czech Republic still waiting for a stable government four months after elections in October confirmed controversial Andrej Babiš and his ANO party as the clear winner but short of a majority, the head of state is bound to be an active player at the heart of the Czech political scene for weeks to come.

Read full article by Radio Praha.

Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic