It is “the return of Zeman,” announces Lidové noviny. Eleven years after leaving the post of Prime Minister, Miloš Zeman has become the third president of the Czech Republic since the Velvet Revolution. Winning out over Karel Schwarzenberg with 54.8 per cent of the vote, he will be sworn in on March 8.
It was “the candidate of the disatisifed voters” who won, writes the daily, describing “an atmosphere of disgust and fear of the future.” Miloš Zeman will have a difficult task, the newspaper adds: “To reunite a society split by a campaign full of heated emotions.” “The new president has been elected against the will of a large part of the intellectual, political and economic elite,” notes LN, adding that he must now prepare for an “uneasy coexistence” with Petr Necas’ centre-right coalition which is behind the austerity policy.
“The Czechs have not crept out of their own shadow and have chosen to return to the past,” writes a regretful Lidové noviny. “But who would have thought six months ago that Karel Schwarzenberg, with all of his handicaps, could become such a strong opponent of Zeman?” The ambition of the new president to call “early elections could give Schwarzenberg a new opportunity: to become prime minister.”
“Miloš Zeman’s come-back has been more than comfortable: straight to Prague Castle, with the support of 2.7 million voters,” writes Hospodářské noviny. However, “it’s crazy to hope that Miloš Zeman will be a non-confrontational president who brings people together and elevates the political culture, because he is an unpredictable and arrogant politician. His campaign against Karel Schwarzenberg was full of lies, insults and dubious practices.” (…)
Worse yet, deplores the business daily, is the “string of advisors who are coming back with him: Miroslav Šlouf [former communist and political lobbyist close to the Russian oil company LUKOIL] and other shady characters who created the environment so conducive to corruption in the 1990s.”
For Europe, “Zeman will be a president of reconciliation,” notes Lidové noviny. After Václav Klaus, known for his euroscepticism, European politicians can breathe a sign of relief, the daily adds, noting that Zeman, considered a euro-federalist, has been congratulated by Martin Schulz, Social Democratic President of the European Parliament.