President-elect Petr Pavel, February 23, 2023.
Berlin – With the departure of Miloš Zeman, an era is coming to an end in the Czech Republic, when at least half of the people felt at the thought of the head of state shame, this coming Thursday will therefore be a liberation for many Czechs. Today, Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote this in a comment, according to which the incoming president, Petr Pavel, is conservative and open to discussion. The paper also said that Germans should realize what a chance it is to develop relations between Berlin and Prague, which has a sincere interest in the debate.
The commentary is critical of Zeman and his predecessor Václav Klaus and states that both presidents were never impartial and did not want to act that way. “The previous president, Miloš Zeman, cultivated close contacts with Beijing and the Kremlin, took revenge on political opponents, the press and vegetarians. And his predecessor Václav Klaus is remembered as a Eurosceptic and climate change denier, whom the parliament wanted to indict for high treason at the end of his term of office. because he allegedly exceeded his authority by amnestying thousands of prisoners,” the paper wrote.
Pavel, on the other hand, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, represents the hope that as head of state he will reconcile the Czech Republic and that he will be perceived abroad as a worthy partner. His election, together with the change of government in 2021, resulted in a political turnaround in the Czech Republic, the paper notes. “Away from populists to a serious coalition, in this case center-right parties. Parliamentary elections are yet to be held in neighboring Poland and Slovakia, and many people there hope for a similar turnaround as in the Czech Republic,” wrote the daily, stating that although the idol of the last Czechoslovak and the first Czech the president is not without controversy in the Czech Republic, even so the majority wants to continue his legacy of liberal democracy.
“The fact that Petr Pavel should be their representative sounds like a paradox. While (Václav) Havel went to prison for socialism for his convictions, Pavel made a career in the army,” Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote. And he stated that after the fall of the socialist regime, Pavel turned to the new era and was active in NATO, which the supporters of the new president consider to be dispelling all doubts about his honesty and pro-European stance.
From Pavel's electoral success, we must Süddeutsche Zeitung to learn, because he did not just run a defensive campaign and deepen the trenches in society with slogans like us against the others. “Instead, he bet on belonging and reconciliation,” said the newspaper.
In the end, the commentary focuses on Czech-German relations and the fact that, according to the newspaper, there is a desire in the Czech Republic for greater exchange with Germany. “The tricolor coalition in Berlin has a conservative counterpart in Prague, who is reticent and even skeptical when it comes to climate protection and access to minorities. However, the time for greater exchange could hardly be more favorable: there are again partners in Prague with a sincere interest in negotiations,” the paper wrote.
According to Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany should take advantage of the Czech interest. In recent years, numerous governments in Eastern Europe have proven to be difficult neighbors. “What these governments secured each time was attention. Now it's time to give it to one of the constructive neighbors,” the paper added.