Zeman: Havel was not 'reform communist' but 'Utopian'

President Miloš Zeman says a predecessor, Vaclav Havel, was a 'Utopian' who believed in a brave new world but lacked the 'motor' to bring it about. Speaking on Czech Radio on Sunday as part of the Interviews from Lány series, Mr. Zeman said Mr. Havel had failed to react to large-scale asset stripping in the privatisation era until 1997. However, he rejected a statement by another former president, Vaclav Klaus, who compared the leader of the Velvet Revolution to a 'reform communist' in an interview published on Saturday.

Mr. Zeman - who employed several swear words in the interview - also said that a review of a civil service bill he has petitioned for at the Constitutional Court will concern more than the fact that it formally allows for politically appointed deputy ministers. A presidential veto of the law was earlier overturned by the Chamber of Deputies. He said the president’s offices lawyers had found several other shortcomings in the legislation. The government says the bill will depoliticise the civil service.

Author: Ian Willoughby