Nymburk, Central Bohemia, April 21 (CTK) – President Milos Zeman has violated an unwritten rule of the postcommunist history by attending the congress of the Communists, asking them to tolerate the planned cabinet of Prime Minister Andrej Babis’ ANO and Social Democrats, his critics said today.
Since 1989, no president came to the Communist (KSCM) top meeting and no government had to rely on their votes, they added.
Head of the Czech Catholic church, Prague Archbishop Cardinal Dominik Duka, warned of Zeman’s presence at the Communist congress during today’s mass on the occasion of the return of Cardinal Josef Beran’s remains from Rome to Prague today.
“It is certainly a coincidence that at the moment we are welcoming Beran, Zeman is a guest to the congress of the Communist party, which, despite its defeat in the election, is demanding an increasing share in power,” Duka said.
“This is a very obvious sign of the hour in which the Czech nation is,” he added.
“All the bigger the responsibility for the head of state. A clear word should be said,” Duka said.
“Cardinal Beran is returning home. Saint Vitus Cathedral is crowded. But Zeman is absent. He preferred Communists who expelled Beran,” former culture minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) said.
“A man with a clear scale of values…would not go to the congress of the present-day KSCM and would not invite them to the government. Unfortunately, Zeman has a different position,” KDU-CSL deputy chairman Marian Jurecka has tweeted.
Zeman started his speech by addressing the 300 delegates to the congress with the words “Dear comrades,” which was applauded.
“In my view, this has crossed the bounds within which we have moved since 1989. The greeting ‘dear comrades’ from the president is a frosty symbolic gesture,” Martin Kupka, a deputy chairman of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), said.
“What can characterise more the current political situation than instead of attending Beran’s funeral, Zeman goes and delivers speech at the Communist congress?” Jiri Pospisil, leader of TOP 09, said.
“This is a really ugly repayment for Communist votes in the presidential election,” Pospisil said.
Zeman’s rival in the presidential election Jiri Drahos said it was symbolic that at the moment the mass was served for Beran, the president delivered a speech at the Communist congress with the greeting “Dear comrades.”
What Communists call the “victorious February,” was in fact a “lost February” because it created a power monopoly, Zeman said about the February 1948 Communist takeover at the Communist congress today.
Zeman said he wished he could denote Communists with a clear conscience as a democratic party.
He said he would be glad if ANO and the Social Democrats invited a third party to the talks, as wanted by the Communists.
The new government may be formed with the Communist tolerance.