President Pavel Calls For Stronger, Self-Confident Czech Republic In Speech Marking 100 Days

Pavel’s stated vision for his presidential term is based on two pillars: consolidating the Czech Republic’s position in the community of pro-Western democratic countries, and changing the mood of society to make people more confident and optimistic to believe in positive change. Photo credit: Petr Pavel, via Facebook.

Prague, June 16 (CTK) – President Petr Pavel said he would like to help consolidate the position of the Czech Republic among democratic countries and change the mood in society, at a press conference yesterday marking his first 100 days in office.

He said he considered setting the direction and manner he would like to follow during his five-year term to be the greatest success of his presidency so far.

“It is a direction towards achieving the overall vision of my presidency. A vision that I believe can move our country to where we would like to see it,” he said.

He said his vision for his term in the president’s office is based on two pillars. The first is to consolidate the Czech Republic’s position in the community of democratic countries with a pro-Western orientation, and the second is a general change in the mood of society to make people believe they can change things if they want to, he told reporters.

Pavel also said he had managed to achieve most of his short-term goals, and made progress towards most of the long-term ones. He thanked his team from the Presidential Office at Prague Castle as well as the Castle Administration and the Lany Forest Administration in Lany, where the presidential manor is seated.

Pavel, who was elected president in January and inaugurated on 9 March, recalled that after assuming office he said he would rather be criticised for intensive activity than for a lukewarm start.

He had a rightful feeling that there was a lot to be done after the tenure of the previous president, Milos Zeman, and therefore gave himself the task of re-setting the direction and manner in which the head of state should fulfil his duties, he noted.

Pavel added that he would judge the success of his presidency by the nation regaining a healthy self-confidence and determination to change things for the better. He wants to see the Czech Republic better using the resources available for the development of its people.

“We have more than favourable conditions to play in the first league, to use sporting terminology,” he said, adding that as president, he wants to remind people not to forget that.

Pavel stressed that he was convinced a change of atmosphere and attitude towards the world would allow the Czech Republic to abandon apathy and make rapid progress in many spheres. The path leads through a thousand small steps and a patient search for solutions to problems, he noted.

Pavel also said he would like to meet the Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) candidate for agriculture minister, the party’s deputy group head Marek Vyborny, but that the date has not yet been set.

Vyborny is to replace Zdenek Nekula (KDU-CSL) who announced his resignation on Wednesday. KDU-CSL leader Marian Jurecka then asked Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) to discuss the change in the post and Fiala supported Vyborny’s nomination, but it still must be approved by the KDU-CSL wider leadership.

Yesterday’s meeting between Pavel and Fiala focused mainly on the consolidation package, but they would also touch upon education and other topical issues, the president said ahead of the meeting.

In his program for the first 100 days, Pavel promised to call regular meetings between the prime minister and opposition leaders. The first meeting of Pavel with Fiala and ANO chairman Andrej Babis took place in June, where the three discussed foreign policy.

In reaction to a journalist’s question, Pavel said if the leader of the far-right opposition Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), Tomio Okamura, would like to meet him, he should ask for it and indicate the agenda to be discussed. The president added that in that case he would not avoid such a meeting.

Okamura reacted by saying that he had repeatedly called on Pavel to meet him to discuss important topics. The president had failed to respond, he claimed, thereby breaking his campaign promise. Okamura added that he had received invitations to meet previous president Zeman.

Pavel previously set eight areas of promises for him to meet during his first 100 days in office. They included the opening of Prague Castle to the public, transparent communication, improving the political culture in the country, a reliable foreign policy, help with citizens’ problems in the regions, and appointing constitutional judges. Some of them have been fulfilled and some are in progress, said Pavel and the directors of his office sections yesterday.

Presidential Office head Jana Vohralikova said the restructuring of the presidential office would start on 1 July. A project to remove the remaining security barriers at the entrances to the Castle is expected to start at the beginning of next year, she added.

At a round-table debate with experts on Wednesday on the opening of Prague Castle, they agreed that they wanted to make the Castle a natural site for spending leisure time. Vohralikova promised to take better care of visitors and build a wide-ranging visitor centre, as well as extending the range of gastronomy and the cultural program.

The president’s spokesperson Marketa Rehakova said the office was gradually reducing the number of interviews Pavel was giving to prevent him from becoming a commentator on current events, and enabling him to speak up when needed.

The Presidential Office has also promised a comprehensive strategy for engaging young people in public affairs, to be based on a team of ambassadors, including for technology, communications, mental health, and sport. The ambassadors, who already met in early June, will gradually be integrated with the president’s activities and agenda.

Tomas Richter, head of the president’s team of advisers, announced yesterday that Silvie Pychova, a teacher who serves as program manager of the Partnership for Education 2030+, had become an education advisor in Pavel’s team.

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