Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Vaclav Klaus: Unifier

Poor old Vaclav Klaus, the largely ceremonial President of the Czech Republic and a notorious Eurosceptic. When the centre-right government of Mirek Topolanek collapsed last month halfway through the Czech Republic's sixth-month Presidency of the EU, it looked like Brussels would be in for a bumpy ride for the next few months, with Mr Klaus holding the power to select the make-up of the next government in Prague. But such was the fear that this engendered across the Czech political spectrum, that all the major political parties have united to back a caretaker government to see the country through until the Autumn.

While political discourse is often healthier with outspoken leaders to challenge orthodoxies and cosy agreements, there is always a danger that with Mr Klaus at the helm Czech politics would not be seen as 'serious' - a condescending West European attitude towards many of the governments of the old Communist Bloc. But Czech politics is serious, and while the fall of Mr Topolanek's government was perhaps unfortunate, its political parties have shown an admirable non-partisan attitude in getting themselves out of an embarrassing fix.

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