Press conference at the Kempinski Grand Hotel on the second day of President Miloš Zeman's visit to Slovakia, February 7, 2023, Štrbské Pleso, Slovakia.
Prague – With the hanging of the presidential standard and the closing of the Giant's Gate at Prague Castle at midnight, Miloš Zeman's ten-year tenure as President of the Republic symbolically ended. During the several-minute ceremony, the music of the Castle Guard played the national anthem. After taking the oath, Petr Pavel will replace Zeman as head of state this afternoon.
About a hundred people gathered on Hradčany Square in the rain, many toasted champagne at midnight and chanted “Finally”. His tenure at Prague Castle was accompanied by frequent controversies. The end of his presidency was affected by his deteriorating health.
Until Pavel takes his oath, which should happen around 2:15 p.m. today, the Czech Republic will be without a president. In the meantime, the powers of the head of state belong mainly to Prime Minister Petar Fial (ODS), some also to the Speaker of the House Markéta Pekarová Adamová (TOP 09) and the President of the Senate Miloš Vystrčil (ODS).
The end of Zeman at Prague Castle was symbolically announced by the lowering of the flag of the president of the republic, or standard. It flies over Prague Castle when the head of state is present in the Czech Republic. Her withdrawal was accompanied by the music of the Castle Guard, who played the national anthem in the first castle courtyard. Subsequently, the Giant's Gate was locked as a sign that the presidential office was vacant.
It will remain closed until the morning, when Pavel and his family will be the first to pass through it. He should arrive at Prague Castle shortly before noon. The Commander of the Castle Guard, Jaroslav Ackermann, will welcome him to the presidential residence. Pavel and his wife will then have lunch with the current presidential couple, at 2:00 p.m. a joint meeting of both chambers of the Parliament will begin, at which they will make a promise. He will thus assume the presidency.
On Tuesday, Zeman moved from the Lány castle to a new house in Lány, where he wants to spend his retirement. But he plans to set up an office where he would meet his guests. His wife will be his assistant. He will receive an annuity of 50,000 kroner a month from the state, another 50,000 will be given for the operation of the office and the salary of an assistant. At the same time, he is entitled to a pension. He said that his amount is 23,000 crowns. He is also entitled to a driver and security.
During his ten-year tenure, according to the agency NMS Market Research, people gave him a school-like rating of four. They mainly blame him for his choice of collaborators or his insufficient role as a moral authority. They also criticize him for leaning towards Russia and China.
Zeman will open his office from May, he will go there once a week
Outgoing President Miloš Zeman will open his office from May, he will go there roughly once a week. He wants to rest in April. According to him, his wife Ivana was not enthusiastic about the offer to be his assistant, but she did not oppose it. Even after leaving the post of president, Zeman does not think about buying a mobile phone. However, it will have a TV with teletext. He would also like to row his rubber boat. He said this in the programOtázky Luboš Procházka published today. They filmed the interview together a few days ago at the castle in Lány.
Zeman, whose mandate at Prague Castle will end at midnight today, will take part in the swearing-in of the new president Petr Pavlo with his wife Ivana on Thursday. They will have lunch with Pavle and his wife beforehand. Zeman noted that he told his successor everything he wanted to tell him during a recent meeting. He will not leave any letter for him. Zeman is of the opinion that Pavel should receive 100 days of defense, and politicians should comment on his actions only after this time has passed.
Asked what he would do after the inauguration of the new head of state, Zeman said he would rest and sleep. He added that he used to take a nap after lunch in the past and will now go back to that. At the same time, he does not plan to buy a phone or tablet even after leaving his position. He said he will have a TV with teletext, which is his favorite source of information. “But my wife will definitely have the phone,” he added. He also expressed a wish to row his rubber boat once more on a pond in Vysočina.
He repeated that the biggest disappointment for him was Russian President Vladimir Putin, who invaded Ukraine last February and unleashed a war conflict. He also regrets that his efforts to move the Czech embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem failed to materialize during his mandate. Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) has previously said that he is in favor of the move, but the government must address more current challenges. According to Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský (Pirates), the Czech Republic adheres to the EU's unified position on this matter. She does not agree with the transfers because, like most countries in the world, she does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, as the Palestinians also claim it.
Zeman plans to go to his office, which should start operating from May, about once a week. He wants to rest in April. His wife will be Zeman's assistant, he himself offered it to her. “I said: 'Ivanka, you are unemployed now, you are not yet retired, we were together when you were my secretary, I trust you and you will work with me.' She didn't fight back, but she wasn't enthusiastic,” he noted. He added that his daughter Kateřina is considering returning to England, where she previously studied. According to Zeman, however, nothing has been decided.
The outgoing president is now choosing from two locations in Prague where the office could be based, castle chancellor Vratislav Mynář told Czech television this evening. One of the places being considered is in close proximity to Prague Castle.
His current spokesman Jiří Ovčáček also plans to continue working informally with Zeman. For example, she wants to help him organize interviews. Ovčák said this in an interview todayfor the Blesk.cz server. He also stated that, as of today, he has resigned from the position of director of the press department of the Office of the President of the Republic and from the position of spokesperson of the head of state. He will formally be an employee of the Castle until the end of March. From April 1, Ovčáček wants to start a new job in the private sector, but he did not provide more precise information. “But I definitely have no ambition to continue to be in the state administration, to be in journalism, in the public space. It will be the private sector,” said Ovčáček about his next plans.
As a former president, Zeman will be entitled to, among other things, for a company car, with a driver on request, and police protection. The outgoing head of state will use the options offered by the law, Ovčáček ČT wrote today.
Procházka resigned from the position of editor-in-chief of Frekvence 1 radio in February this year. He has been directing news on the fourth most listened to commercial station for the past four years. At the time, Procházka wrote on Twitter that he had informed all the important people around him of his departure, but also President Miloš Zeman and Prime Minister Petr Fiala, with whom he conducted regular radio interviews on the President's and Prime Minister's Press Club programs.