The prime minister gives the president full backing ahead of the February presidential elections
There is no love lost between Czech President Václav Klaus and Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek, but at their traditional New Year’s lunch on Wednesday they put their differences aside and showed journalists a united front. Political analysts perceive this show of mutual support as an indication that the Civic Democrats are prepared to go to great lengths to secure President Klaus’ re-election in the February presidential elections.
However journalists used to reading between the lines were not disappointed. For, minutes later, Prime Minister Topolánek unexpectedly announced that he might accept Christian Democrat leader Jiři Čunek’s return to the Cabinet. Mr. Čunek was forced to resign over corruption allegations late last year and his party has been pushing for him to be able to return. Only a few weeks ago the prime minister said this was premature. Now he indicated that everything was possible.
“The pressure on me from the Christian Democratic Party is immense – if it mounts I may well give in and take Jiri Čunek back in order to keep the peace within the coalition” the prime minister said at Wednesday’s press briefing.
The president will be elected on February 8, by both houses of Parliament in a secret ballot. Václav Klaus’ only rival for the post is economist Jan Švejnar, who lives alternately in the Czech Republic and the United States and is preparing to tour the country in an American-style election campaign.