News Flash: What was your immediate reaction when you learned that Milos Zeman decided to pardon the head of the forest administration of Lány, Miloš Balák? Did it shock you, or didn’t it surprise you too much?
Petr Fiala: “It’s a good question, because what else can surprise a person of the Castle over the years. I find it really extremely unfortunate. It’s not only because the president is giving thanks to his colleague, but the key moment is that people lose faith in the rule of law and say to themselves: we are not equal before the law and justice.
There are others who are more equal because they are close to the president. I find that extremely unfortunate and I said so right away. I have no problem telling Miloš Zeman and I also told him like that. We have a different opinion on this. But I was nominated and elected by the citizens to the post of Prime Minister of the Republic, and that involves duties.
Among them, I have a dialogue with all the main constitutional leaders, led by the president. It’s how it’s supposed to be, and I would say – and that’s how it’s normal, because it wasn’t always like that. Especially in this international situation, which is really difficult, it is important that we speak with one voice on these key issues.
And let me recap: Milos Zeman appointed the government as I proposed to him, that is, how he came out of the elections and the names I found. Despite the expectations of many, Milos Zeman has condemned Russian aggression against Ukraine, supports our aid to Ukraine, and I have the opportunity to represent the President at NATO summits, where the President of the République normally visits when he cannot attend due to health reasons. There is a completely new situation in these key issues, even though we simply have different views on Miloš Zeman and see the world differently, the Czech Republic now speaks with one voice abroad on these issues keys and it is important for our security, for our reputation, for the credibility of the Czech Republic. »
But isn’t it time for change at mercy? Maybe the Prime Minister countersigns them?
“It just came to our knowledge at that time. As a political scientist, I will answer this: you will not deal with everything perfectly by law. The constitutional system assumes that those elected to key positions follow certain rules, traditions and values, and behave with restraint, reason and in a way that does not divide society.
We can have a debate on pardon, including countersignature, but it’s important: if people want it to be different, they will have less than a year to vote. »
You say pro-Western třeba maybe you believe in the president, who now condemns Vladimir Putin and the behavior of Russia? At the same time, he always has, for example, Martin Nejedlý, an adviser linked to Moscow, at his side?
“I don’t want to be the president’s spokesperson. But we see each other every month, and I would say that Milos Zeman is really disappointed with the behavior of Putin and Russia and strongly disagrees with the aggression in Ukraine. In this regard, I understand his attitude as truly genuine.
If someone is bothered by the president’s environment, it cannot be changed, except that after the election there will be a president he wants, who respects the Constitution, pro-Western orientation, constitutional traditions and who is a worthy head of state. »
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Why does the ODS still not have a candidate to support at the moment, why hasn’t it declared it publicly – yes, this or that we would like to go to the Castle?
“It just came to our knowledge at that time. We are debating who it should be. I am not at all insisting – and the ODS is not insisting – that she be a candidate for the ODS We want him to be a candidate from the Together coalition, he does not need to be from either of our parties, he can be an independent person who will have similar ideas on the position of president and who will share the values that we share and we will support him.
What is important for us is that he is a personality who will have a real chance of winning, of defeating all the populists, extremists, radicals likely to stand for election. Have a chance to offer the public the most worthy candidate who will have a real chance of winning these elections. And that this is not an easy task, we must also imagine that even voters who do not go to another type of election go to the presidential election. So it’s not like this: you won the election, so put someone there and you win. »
We also learned from multiple sources that at some point your name was dropped very seriously and you should have said: not yet. Is it true?
No. But if my name comes up somewhere, I can’t rule it out. I’ve heard it more often lately, but I’ve gained a lot of trust from people to be prime minister. And if we all remember how the campaign was before the last parliamentary elections – this campaign was actually about the candidates for Prime Minister at the end. And I promised people that I would do it, I have the confidence and I want to do it. I think the role of the Prime Minister is important. I will not leave him.