New president’s office chief promises greater transparency and openness
Following Petr Pavel’s inauguration as Czechia’s new head of state, the president’s office chief Jana Vohralíková, also assumed her post at Prague Castle. What changes is she planning? And will the castle become more accessible to the general public during Petr Pavel’s presidency?
Jana Vohralíkova, who previously headed the office of the Czech Senate, has already indicated that there are many things she wants to change about the way that Prague Castle is run and perceived by the public. Like her boss, she is promising greater transparency, greater openness and a visitor-friendly attitude on the premises of the historic seat of Czech kings.
In an interview for Czech Radio following Petr Pavel’s inauguration, Mrs. Vohralíková said that one of her top priorities was to change the working environment in the Office of the President:
“If I have realized anything during the last month, it is that interpersonal relationships here are not what they should be. I'm sure there are a lot of reasons for that.
“Even in the Senate, I felt the need to communicate well with my colleagues and to convince them that we should move in the same direction.
“I am sure that the new people who are around the president today will bring a fresh wind to Prague Castle. My job will be to bring the old world and the new world together.”
Among the other priorities of the newly appointed chancellor is to open up the historic seat of Czech kings to the public, something that was also mentioned by President Petr Pavel in his inauguration speech. According to Ms Vohralíková, there are two aspects to the problem:
“One is technical: to make it easier to get into the Castle grounds. The other is to offer a programme that will attract the general public.
“I will certainly discuss the first point with the people from the Ministry of the Interior, who are responsible for the strict security measures in place.
“As for the second point, it is linked to what the president promised, that he will address various problems in the society and invite experts and members of the public to the Castle for discussions. So I am sure there will also be many cultural and other events.”
Another challenge awaiting the new chancellor is dealing with any skeletons in the cupboard left by the previous administration. She is now awaiting the result of an audit, carried out by the National Security Office at Prague Castle last year. Mrs Vohralíková says she will address the problem as soon as the results are made available:
“I will make myself familiar with the findings of the National Security Office, which is the key body that should control the management and handling of funds of state organizations.
“If there are any indications of criminal offences, we will certainly investigate that and carry out another audit if needed. On the other hand, we have to draw a thick line at some point because we don’t want to be digging into the matter for the next five years.”