Prague,10 December 1997 (RFE/RL) -- This is the full text of the statement made by outgoing Premier Vaclav Klaus, chairman of the main coalition Civic Democratic Party (ODS), responding to a speech by President Vaclav Havel to parliament, which amounted to a sharp criticism of Klaus's government.
"As Premier of the outgoing government, I feel that I must
comment on this afternoon's speech by the President of the Republic.
I was prepared for it. The President told me during Saturday's (6
December) meeting that I was not going to like the speech. I have
to say he was right.
Whether I liked it or not is irrelevant, however.The question is what this speech means and what it willead to.
In today's political situation I am trying to behave like a
statesman and trying not to stir up already well-stirred emotions in
the country and in our dissatisfied society.
The President also called for responsibility, tolerance, respect
and humility in his speech, but the truth is that the tone of his
speech was exactly the opposite -- it was confrontational, it will
exacerbate the situation rather than calm it down.
Any objectively-thinking person is surely unable to agree either
with his evaluation of the last eight years, or with his evaluation
of the current situation in our country, or, I believe, with his
vision of the future, which I view as the tip of the "third path"
iceberg that we have so long discarded.
If his speech was meant completely seriously, then it is
difficult to believe that the President can entrust someone from the
former coalition with building a new government.
I interpret the President's speech as a challenge. The last
eight years have been a battle between two world visions, and this
afternoon's speech illustrated this clearly.
He pointed to a vision of the world that is diametrically opposed
to right-wing thinking, and showed how deep is his ignorance of the
workings of the market economy and a free society eight years after
the fall of communism, one day short of the eve of the eighth
anniversary of the appointment of the first post-communist
government in our country.
Regardless of this speech, I am determined to continue searching
for a constructive solution to the present situation."