To commemorate the 30th anniversary of an independent Czech Republic, Prime Minister Petr Fiala met with a host of his predecessors yesterday evening for a dinner in Prague. Despite differing ideologies and past political disharmony, the leaders came together to celebrate Czechia’s past.
Among the guests were former prime ministers Andrej Babiš (who was in office from 2017-2021), Jiří Rusnok (2013-14), Petr Nečas (2010-13), and Mirek Topolánek (2006-09). Former prime ministers Josef Tošovský and Bohuslav Sobotka were unable to attend the event. “It’s not about us discussing any specific topics, I think we would certainly disagree on a number of political issues. Let’s not forget that many of the former prime ministers are each other’s former political rivals, some of us are also current political rivals,” said Fiala yesterday, as ČTK quotes. From 1993 and until today, the Czech Republic has had 16 cabinets and 13 prime ministers. Some scandals are connected with former prime ministers, such as the Nečas perjury case (in which the former prime minister was charged with bribery), and Babiš’s ongoing subsidy-fraud case. Václav Klaus, who was prime minister between 1993 and 1998, is the longest-serving former leader, followed by Babiš and Miloš Zeman, who is now president. Klaus had played a central role in the division of Czechoslovakia and later served as president of the country for a decade.
Fiala does not see eye to eye with some of the former prime ministers, such as Babiš and Zeman, whom he has accused of acting against the interests of Czechia – due to Babiš’s legal cases and Zeman’s pro-China approach.
Rusnok said of the dinner that, despite “all the political strife and differences, at the end of the day, everyone cares about our country.”
Fiala later met with his Slovak counterpart Eduard Heger at Prague’s Rudolfinum. “By working together with our Slovak friends, we managed to preserve all the good things that existed in the joint state,” said Fiala in a speech yesterday.
“We understand very well that we are stronger together,” said Heger. According to him, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have maintained “a fraternal bond,” and there are “linguistic and cultural closeness and strong family ties” between both states, according to iRozhlas.
Source : Thomas Smith