During the last week the president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, has repeatedly criticised recent reforms introduced by the government. Furthermore, he told reporters yesterday that he wanted to stay in the ‘public world’ even after the end of his second term as president in 2013.
Klaus’ main criticism was directed against the government’s pension reform. According to him, the government approved the reform too quickly and the process had lacked a broad debate about the topic. He justified his open criticism of the reform which is yet to be approved saying that it was him who would have to sign it into law eventually and therefore wanted to let deputies and senators know his criticism. In effect, he hereby threatened to veto the bill. Klaus also criticised the governments plan to link the pension reform to the VAT increase (a flat-tax of 20 per cent is to be introduced in October) as they had ‘absolutely nothing in common’.
Concerning the pension reform, prime minister Necas declared that the reform was well planned and was only not carried out earlier because of the fall of the previous government under prime minister Topolanek in 2009. According to Necas, the discussions about a reform had been going on for nearly 15 years and now was the time to finally put them into action. Furthermore, he argued that talks were being held with the opposition and that the reform – which mainly changes the way people can use private pension funds – was inevitable. However, Necas did not comment on the criticism concerning the VAT increase which had come not only from Klaus but also from trade unions and independet experts.
On another occasion, president Klaus declared that “he planned to stay in the ‘public world’ even after the end of his second and final term as president in 2013. Klaus – who had already been prime minister before becoming president – did not want to comment on what role he specifically wanted to take but considering his age (would then be 72 years old) an active role in day-to-day politics seems rather unlikely.