3rd President of the Czech Republic

Miloš Zeman

Miloš born 28 September 1944 is the third and current President of the Czech Republic, in office since 8 March 2013. Previously he served as the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic from 1998 to 2002. As leader of the Czech Social Democratic Party during the 1990s, he transformed it into one of the country's major parties. He wasChairman of the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Czech parliament, from 1996 to 1998.

In January 2013, Zeman was elected as President of the Czech Republic. He is the first directly elected President in Czech history; both of his predecessors, Václav Havel and Václav Klaus, were elected by the Parliament.

Early years (Socialist Czechoslovakia)

Zeman was born in Kolín; his parents divorced when he was two years old and he was raised by his mother, who was a teacher. He studied at a high school in Kolín; from 1965 he studied at the University of Economics in Prague, graduating in 1969.

In 1968, during the Prague Spring, he became a member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia; however, he was expelled in 1970, owing to his differences with the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. He was dismissed from his job and spent more than ten years as an employee of the sports organisation Sportpropag (1971–84). From 1984, he worked in the company Agrodat. However, he was dismissed again in 1989, this time as a result of his critical article "Prognostika a přestavba" ("Forecasts and Reconstruction").

Activities from 1989 to 2013

In summer 1989, he appeared on Czechoslovak Television with a critical commentary about the unsatisfactory state of the Czechoslovak economy. His speech caused a scandal. However, the same opinions helped him to join the leaders of the Civic Forum few months later, during the Velvet Revolution.

In 1990, Zeman became a member of the Chamber of the Nations of the Czechoslovak Federal Assembly. In 1992, he successfully ran for the Chamber of the People of the Federal Assembly, already as a member of the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD), which he joined the same year. In 1993, he was elected the chairman of the party, and in the following years he transformed it into one of the country's major parties.

The success of ČSSD in the 1996 legislative election allowed him to prevent his rival Václav Klaus and his Civic Democratic Party(ODS) from creating majority government. Zeman became the Chair of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic and held this post until the early election in 1998.

In 1998, the ČSSD won the election and Zeman became the Prime Minister of his own minority government, which he led throughout the next four years.

In April 2001, he was replaced by Vladimír Špidla as the party leader. Zeman then retired and moved to live in the countryside (Vysočina Region). His nomination for Czech president failed at the 2003 presidential election (to Václav Klaus), due to the party disunity. Zeman became an outspoken critic of his former party's leaders.

He left the Czech Social Democratic Party on 21 March 2007, due to conflicts with the leader and chairman of the Czech Social Democratic Party, Jiří Paroubek.

In October 2009, he founded a new party, Party of Civic Rights – Zemanovci. The party did not win any seats in the 2010 or 2013legislative elections.

Presidency (March 2013 – present)

Miloš Zeman announced his comeback and the intention to run in the first direct presidential election in the Czech Republic in February 2012. Together with Jan Fischer, polling showed him to be one of the two strongest candidates in the election.[8] Zeman narrowly won the first round of the elections and went into the second round to face Karel Schwarzenberg, winning by a clearer margin. His term began in March 2013.

Zeman's allegedly excessive alcohol consumption became a subject of public discussion and media attention on several occasions. Many Czechs believed he was drunk during his appearances in Czech TV headquarters, shortly after his win in the 2013 presidential election, or during the exhibition of Bohemian Crown Jewels.

In May 2013, Zeman refused to grant Professorship to the literary historian Martin C. Putna, due to his provocative appearance at 2011 Prague Gay Pride. Putna, who carried a controversial banner during the event, had been approved through standard academic procedure.

In June 2013, the coalition government led by Petr Nečas resigned in association with a corruption and spying scandal. Zeman, reinforced by his victory in the first direct presidential election, decided to appoint his friend and a long-time ally Jiří Rusnok the Prime Minister and let him form a new government, ignoring the political balance of power in the Czech Parliament. This was viewed by some of the Czech and foreign media as political power grab undermining parliamentary democracy and expanding his powers. "Don't let yourself get annoyed by media criticism of jealous fools who have never in their life done a useful thing", said the Czech President to the members of Rusnok's cabinet during the appointment on 10 July 2013.

Zeman played an important role in a scandal that occurred in October 2013, shortly after the Czech legislative election.Michal Hašek, the First Deputy Chairman of the winning Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) and his allies from the party called on the chairman Bohuslav Sobotka to resign due to the party's poor election result and eliminated him from the team negotiating the next government. However, the further course of events showed that Hašek and his allies attended a secret post-election meeting with the Czech President and possibly negotiated a 'coup' in the ČSSD with him. Hašek had previously denied the accusations, stating in the Czech Television that "there was no meeting", however, his allies (deputies Milan ChovanecZdeněk Škromach, Jeroným Tejc and Jiří Zimola) later admitted that the meeting took place. The event sparked public protests in the country and eventually led to Hašek's apology and resignation as the First Deputy Chairman of the ČSSD.[18] Zeman, who is known as a supporter of the wing in the ČSSD led by Michal Hašek, said he didn't initiate the meeting. His Party of Civic Rights – Zeman's people (SPOZ) lost the election with 1.5% of the votes.

On 6 April 2014, Zeman opined that strong action be taken, possibly including sending NATO forces to Ukraine, if Russia tries to annex the eastern part of the country, in the wake of the 2014 Crimean crisis. He was quoted in a public radio show as having said: "The moment Russia decides to widen its territorial expansion to the eastern part of Ukraine, that is where the fun ends. There I would plead not only for the strictest EU sanctions, but even for military readiness of the North Atlantic Alliance, like for example NATO forces entering Ukrainian territory." The Czech Republic has been a NATO member since 1999, joining just weeks before the alliance decided to bomb Yugoslavia, when Zeman was prime minister. In the Czech constitutional system it is the government that has the main say in foreign policy, although the President is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The ČSSD government of Bohuslav Sobotkaresisted strong EU sanctions against Russia after its annexation of Crimea because of the negative economic impact of such a step.

Criticism and controversies

In 1996, before the legislative election, he negotiated with the Czech-Swiss entrepreneur Jan Vízek in the German city of Bamberg. In the so-called "Bamberg Memorandum", a group of Swiss entrepreneurs allegedly negotiated funding of the ČSSD pre-election campaign in exchange for the promise of influencing the economic development in the Czech Republic after the election. The investigation ended in 2000. Vízek was convicted of falsification of the memorandum by copying signatures from earlier documents. He later admitted that he intentionally published the case in order to compromise Zeman before the next election, held in 1998. Zeman's guilt has not been proven, but it remains unclear what was behind the meetings between Zeman and Vízek in 1996.

In 1999, one of Zeman's advisors, Jaroslav Novotný, allegedly blackmailed the director of the state-owned Štiřín Castle, Václav Hrubý. Novotný allegedly pressed him to falsify evidence in order to prove that former Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec corrupted journalists. The police confirmed the blackmail, but nobody was punished, despite convincing evidence.

Zeman has been often criticized for his contacts with the powerful Czech lobbyist and his former chief advisor, Miroslav Šlouf. During Zeman's prime minister-ship, Šlouf maintained contacts with the controversial entrepreneur František Mrázek, nicknamed the "Godfather of Czech Organized Crime". Šlouf and Mrázek met and exchanged information at the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic. Mrázek was assassinated in 2006. In the leaked wiretapping records, he nicknames Zeman mlha ("fog") and claims that Zeman "could not be bribed, and wanted only a sandwich, three pickles and for people to like him." In 2010, Šlouf and Martin Nejedlý, a representative of the Russian oil company LUKoil in the Czech Republic, were the main sponsors of his Party of Civic Rights – Zemanovci.

In 2002, German chancellor Gerhard Schröder cancelled his official visit to Prague after Zeman had called the ethnic Germans in pre-war Czechoslovakia "Hitler's Fifth column". Zeman also stated, that "the Czechs and Slovaks were doing the Sudeten Germans a favor by expelling them, because they granted them their wish to go Heim ins Reich". Zeman also called his rival in the presidential campaign of 2013 a "sudeťák" [Sudeten German]. Thus the Austrian Die Presse ascribed Zeman's victory to an "unprecedented anti-German dirty campaign."

On 26 May 2014, on the occasion of festivities for the independence of Israel, Zeman said "So let me quote one of their [Islamic] sacred texts to support this statement: "A tree says, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. A stone says, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him."[45] I would criticize those calling for the killing of Arabs, but I do not know of any movement calling for mass murdering of Arabs. However, I know of one anti-civilisation movement calling for the mass murder of Jews."[46] When criticized and called upon from Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to apologize, his office replied "President Zeman definitely does not intend to apologise. For the president would consider it blasphemy to apologise for the quotation of a sacred Islamic text."

Zeman's remarks on Jewish Museum of Belgium shooting and "Islamic ideology" in June 2014 caused a diplomatic dispute with Saudi Arabia. The diplomatic source said: "The Saudis had an exact list of what Zeman said on the issue in the past. The list had several pages. The [Czech] ambassador was in a very unpleasant situation as the protest had never gone so far before."

On 17 November 2014, the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, thousands of Czechs took part in a demonstration against Zeman, protesting his pro-Russian stance and vulgar language. A thrown egg accidentally hit the German president, Joachim Gauck; German officials said it was just a piece of eggshell.[49] On the same day, a group of about 60 people was observed holding a counter-protest in support of president Zeman.

The latest opinion poll (September 2015) conducted by the CVVM agency has shown that 55 percent of polled Czechs trust President Miloš Zeman, while in February it was 44 percent. 


The object of mass VOTE:

Miloš Zeman.  

Czech Republic

Rate the damage it causes (does not cause) the object of VOTE to the European Commonwealth.

Method of ethical VOTE is to choose one of the following  values:

 0 - moral, there is no prejudice to the European community;
-1, -2, -3 - minor damage, harm to the European community;
-4, -5, -6 - damage of medium gravity for the European community;
-7, -8, -9, -10 - substantial damage, harm to the European community.


Add comment

Security code