Zeman says direct elections granted him broader mandate

Speaking at a conference in Prague on Monday, Mr Zeman postulated presidents elected directly by citizens had a “broader” mandate than previous Czech heads-of-state (elected by lawmakers). Ahead of his victory this year, Mr Zeman made no secret he would pursue a more hands-on approach to daily politics than his predecessors Václav Klaus and the late Václav Havel. But on a number of fronts this has led to marked friction between the head-of-state and members of the current government. The president has been locked in a months’ long dispute with the country’s foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, over the appointment of new ambassadors. He has also, at turns, been critical of the government. Mr Zeman said Monday he was free to criticise ministers of the Nečas cabinet, as they were to criticise him.

Author: Jan Velinger