Illustrative photo – Press conference at the end of President Miloš Zeman's visit to the Ústí Region, October 18, 2022, Třebívlice, Litoměřice.
Berlin – Miloš Zeman, who, together with Václav Havel and Václav Klaus, was one of the most influential figures in Czech politics after 1989, is leaving the office of the President of the Czech Republic. Today, the Saxon daily Sächsische Zeitung wrote that Zeman increasingly wasted his great talent at Prague Castle. The paper also noted that Zeman repeatedly pulled out the so-called German card and that he never fulfilled his promise to unite Czech society.
The newspaper explained to readers that Zeman came to the center of the revolutionary events in 1989 thanks to an article in the Technical magazine, in which he openly criticized the way in which the communist regime led the country. After the fall of communism, he quickly rose in his political career to the position of prime minister, and already in the election campaign in 1996 he proved to be a remarkable political talent and an excellent orator.
“In the last year of his prime ministership, he took care of discord with his German neighbor and forced the then Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to renounce his visit to Prague,” the newspaper wrote. In an interview with the German magazine Profil in 2002, Zeman stated that according to Czech laws, many Sudeten Germans had committed treason, which was punishable by execution. “So if they were expelled or moved, it was more lenient than the death penalty,” Zeman said. He also stated that the Sudeten Germans were Hitler's fifth column.
Schröder finally visited the Czech Republic a year later. Although Germany never officially stated that Zeman's statements were behind the postponement, German media cited it as the reason.
Zeman pulled out the German card again in the 2013 presidential election, when he faced Karl Schwarzenberg in the second round. He accused Toho of wanting to open the door to the Sudeten Germans again, the newspaper reported. He also noted that Zeman won the subsequent presidential election in 2018 with a sharp polemic against the then German Chancellor Angela Merkel's open migration policy.
The daily Sächsische Zeitung also wrote that Zeman sought the presidency as early as 2003, when for but even the members of his social democracy refused to vote for him. “Zeman angrily retreated into privacy for ten years,” he said. “He never got over that humiliation and took revenge on his own party at every opportunity,” he wrote.
From the victory in the direct election, according to the Sächsische Zeitung, Zeman deduced that he was entitled to greater presidential powers, which led to clashes with the government . He also constantly attacked journalists, whom he said he hated with all his heart, the newspaper recalled.
“He never fulfilled his promise to unite the Czech Republic. On the contrary, he divided society more and more. his foreign policy flattery of Russia and China. After the start of Russian aggression against Ukraine, he admitted in disappointment that he was deeply mistaken about Vladimir Putin,” the Saxon paper added.