The President needs to set clear boundaries. The next government has a chance to return the Czechia to the parliamentary system

Perhaps everyone who watched Wednesday’s interview with President Miloš Zeman for TV Nova had to get the impression that the president was already doing much better, he was hardened and he was already the good old Zeman. That is, a person who wants to play the first violin at all costs, and at the same time an unscrupulous political tactician and power practitioner who intends to use the momentary hesitation of others to step on the ground. However, the emerging new government faces the ideal opportunity to spread this traditional presidential formula and return the Czech Republic to where it belongs, ie to organize the parliamentary system.

Leaving aside Zeman’s defense of Chancellor Mynar, the main outcome of the pre-recorded conversation is the declared intention of the head of state to veto one of the proposed ministers. Anyone who follows political affairs a little more and is aware of the Constitution knows that the president has no competence, let alone the power to veto the minister. And of course Miloš Zeman himself knows that. He just played a moving theater in front of people on television, in which he even remembered that he had known Petr Fiala for a long time and that they had a relationship with each other. Now the only thing is not to screw up this poisoned bait.

Even if Zeman and Fiala are his best friends, the president does not have the slightest authority to speak to the future prime minister in the choice of ministers. It is his duty to appoint and complete the nominated minister. The Prime Minister should insist on his nominee at any cost, even at the cost of a court action before the Constitutional Court. The president would go through it there all the way and with great disgrace.

In the past, there have been cases where presidents did not want to appoint someone or delayed them, they could. Vaclav Havel did not want to appoint Miroslav Gregr Deputy Prime Minister in Zeman’s government, Vaclav Klaus had problems with Milan Urban’s English, or did not want to appoint David Rath as health minister due to his original membership in the Medical Union Club. In the end, in all cases, the head of state resigned and appointed the nominated candidate. Witnesses recall that David Rath’s appointment ceremony in November 2005 lasted only a few tens of seconds, without a speech or toast. Cool handshake, one signature and done.

During his reign, Miloš Zeman used to bend the Constitution as he needed. He claimed to have a direct election mandate. Sure, he was elected by direct universal suffrage, but in the Constitution his powers have not changed. So he has no authority to frame ministers. And he shouldn’t have it now. Although Zeman is trying to do that, he can, there is no semi-presidential system in the Czech Republic. The fact that the opposite impression is created here is due only to the weakness of the previous prime minister. Bohuslav Sobotka was already much more confident.

Compared to previous years, there is a big difference in the fact that the partner or opponent on the political chessboard will not be Zeman Andrej Babiš, but Petr Fiala. The chairman of the ODS does not need to do any power business with the head of state, he is not blackmailing or prosecuted. In addition, he has a majority in the Chamber and in the Senate, he has no fifth columns in his ranks. He can act confidently, and therefore he should make the Castle clear where his limits are and what he will no longer tolerate him, unlike the jelly-like Babiš. In addition, let us not forget that a number of presidential decisions are subject to countersignature, so the appointment of some ambassadors may no longer be so easy. In short, in a tandem of power, the prime minister is always the prime minister who pulls (or should pull) the longer end of the rope.

In short, Miloš Zeman is now sitting at a completely different power chessboard. His current position is significantly worse or weaker than in previous years. In such cases, the player usually tries to play at least an honorable draw from his point of view. And the threat is certainly not a veto. Petr Fiala now has a unique opportunity to show that, unlike the president, he has all the pieces on the board and will not leave an attempt to shoot them without an adequate answer.

The President and his powers in appointing ministersVIDEO Videohub

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