Illustrative photo – President of the Republic Miloš Zeman (front right) and Prime Minister Petr Nečas (back right) view the Czech crown jewels, which were taken out of the Crown Chamber in the Cathedral of St. Welcome to Prague.
Bratislava – To say that a new era begins in the Czech Republic with the inauguration of Petr Pavel sounds too strong considering the limited presidential competences. Symbolically, there cannot be a sharper change than in the form of Petr Pavel after his predecessor in the presidency, Miloš Zeman, wrote the Slovak newspaper Sme today. According to the newspaper Plus Jeden den, Zeman's presidential era, which was also affected by scandals, ended.
“From a pathogenic zone, as the Castle operated, which was controlled by the 'red divno party', after ten years it will once again be a civil, cultural, open seat of the head of state,” writes Sme. The paper described Pavel as the first high-ranking politician in the region to publicly question the future of the Visegrad Group (V4), which, in addition to the Czech Republic, also includes Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
“In connection with Hungary's attitude towards Russian aggression, Polish politicians often express themselves – from misunderstanding to disgust to horror – but only Pavel put an explicit question mark over the very meaning of V4,” wrote the commentator. According to him, this shift brought about by the new Czech president will require a clear reaction from Slovakia.
“Whatever you think about Miloš Zeman, he certainly always managed to impress! Yes, often with scandals and controversial statements, but also thanks to them, we will remember him,” the newspaper Plus Jeden deň reported. He added that Zeman is idiosyncratic and will never hold back just to be talked about in a good way.
The paper printed some of Zeman's bon mots and also wrote that Zeman preferred to cultivate economic friendship with the United States diplomacy with Russia and China. According to the newspaper, he has long admired Russian President Vladimir Putin and only changed his vocabulary after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The paper identified Zeman's fumbling with the crown jewels in 2013 as probably the biggest and most frequently mentioned misstep; wrote that while Hrad claimed that Zeman had a virus, the head of the House of Representatives at the time, Miroslava Němcová, made no secret of her suspicion that the president was drunk.