Czech Republic: President Zeman causes outrage
When Czech President Miloš Zeman hands out state distinctions at Prague Castle on 28 October to mark Czechoslovak Independence Day, the heads of the country's two chambers of parliament will be absent. The head of state didn't invite the country's second- and third-ranked politicians on the grounds that they are not loyal to him. Commentators are incensed.
An inappropriate snub
The president is acting as if the public holiday were a private party, Lidové noviny fumes:
“This is not a private party thrown by Miloš Zeman to which he can invite whomever he wants. It is an official, albeit very ceremonial event to commemorate the continuity of the Republic's history since its founding in 1918 and to honour the extraordinary contribution of a few individuals to our state and society. ... The president has embarrassed himself with these 'non-invitations' and has been forced to listen to some hard but true comments because of them, including that by Senator Miroslava Němcová, who called him a vindictive cynic.”
Contempt for democratic institutions
Prime Minister Petr Fiala should stay away from the ceremony in protest, Hospodářské noviny insists:
“The event would have the character of an official event if all representatives of the democratic state were automatically present, and not just those chosen by the president. By not inviting the leaders of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, Zeman is showing contempt for the constitutional institutions of the democratic republic. ... To participate is to tacitly, yet actively, agree with all this.”