The Czech Republic's caretaker prime minister Andrej Babiš has lost a lawsuit over his alleged involvement with the communist-era secret police in Czechoslovakia. A court in Bratislava has ruled that a file on his person cannot be removed from the agency's archives. Commentators don't believe this stain on his past will seal the politician's fate.
What a lack of moral awareness!
Hospodářské noviny sees Babiš's case as proof of how far removed the Czech Republic has become from the West:
“Whereas in countries like Germany it would be practically inconceivable for the government to be led by a person who was once an agent with the communist secret service, here people don't care. The voters know about it but they still gave Babiš 30 percent of the vote. And the political parties that don't want to join his government see only the subsidy fraud charges against him as a fundamental problem. They make no mention of his collaboration with the communist secret police. As far as moral criteria in politics are concerned, the Czech Republic is becoming more and more resigned.”
A test for the Czech parliamentarians
Lidové noviny, which belongs to Babiš's media group, speculates on the consequences of the judgement:
“Certainly a name in the files of the secret police doesn't mean you deliberately hurt anyone. But when it comes to forming a government the affair represents at least a symbolic problem. ... And Babiš's statement that he does not agree with the judge's decision and will appeal it to the bitter end because he believes he's right doesn't change that in the slightest. The battle for trust will be an interesting test for the government. How many MPs, and from which parliamentary groups, will be bothered by the stain on Babiš's record, and how many won't care at all?”