Credit:Petr Pavel via Facebook

President Pavel Has Withdrawn From Public Discourse On Domestic Issues, Say Analysts

President Petr Pavel has retreated slightly from the public sphere after an energetic start during his first year in office, according to some political analysts who spoke to CTK.

However, while he does not seem to want to comment too much on domestic political topics, the president’s involvement in foreign policy is suitably mediated by the media, they say. Pavel took office last year after his inauguration on 9 March.

For example, in the first weeks of his mandate, Pavel held press conferences every Monday to announce his programme for the following days. However, he eventually stopped making regular media appearances. He has held press conferences during his trips to the regions, during his foreign trips, and earlier also during major domestic political decisions, such as the signing of the bill on the reduced pension indexation last year.

According to political analyst Josef Mlejnek, Pavel got off to a rousing start, but then his activities tapered off. “In general, he is less present in the public space than he announced, less than would correspond to a directly elected president with a record number of votes,” he said.

Two factors are to blame, according to Mlejnek. First, Pavel quickly ran up against the limits of his powers. He understood that he was in danger of raising people’s expectations, but subsequently failing to enforce his ideas, and could quickly lose credibility with the public. “And if he tried to engage in political games between the government and the opposition, he was often left hanging in limbo, with accusations in the media that he did not push anything through, that he was clumsy, etc.,” he noted.

According to Mlejnek, the president’s media performance was also influenced by the fact that it has taken some time to finalise the form and staffing of the Presidential Office’s communications department. Mlejnek does not consider the new format, with a director of the department and two spokespeople to be optimal either. “Rather, it reflects embarrassment, it reflects the constant search for what the media presentation of the president should look like in the first place,” he said.

Miroslav Mares, on the other hand, believes that the public is adequately informed about the president’s activities. Mares said he does not consider a weekly briefing to be necessary unless important events have occurred. He added that Pavel also receives media attention thanks to his activities that are not primarily political and show him as a person with specific leisure interests, such as motorbike riding, running and parachuting.

“In explaining internal political actions, communication has sometimes lagged, as was evident in the pension amendment bill. The same applies to the clarification of staffing at the Presidential Office. On the other hand, the president’s involvement in foreign policy is clear and appropriately mediated,” Mares said.

According to Jan Kubacek, Pavel has dropped out of the discussion about domestic issues. The political analyst said the standard format of briefings does not suit him. “Instead, he has relied on pre-recorded videos and policy statements in which he is in full control of his statement and does not have to add to it or clarify it. Moreover, it allows him to deliver his messages more dynamically,” he said.

At regular press conferences, Kubacek said, the president seemed annoyed. “He was visibly bored and sometimes ‘confused’ his statements,” he said. The format of the briefings, he said, is reserved by Pavel for topics he enjoys and feels confident in – security and foreign policy.

However, Kubacek noted that some of the public regrets that he does not speak out much on domestic issues and problems. “And events like ‘skydiving, motorcycle rides or wild water rides’ don’t really replace or cover that,” he said.

A year on, the communication is also showing the typical development associated with the ascension to a new post and the gradual settling in, according to political scientist Stanislav Balik. The original idealistic ideas are confronted with reality, he says, and the team has tried new things to see which ones work and which ones don’t. However, there is still a clear shift from his predecessor Milos Zeman, and the public is sufficiently informed about the president’s activities, he said.

“I consider the only oddity of late to be the stubborn silence around the president’s vacation – it is in contrast to the information about his other activities, including his private ones,” Balik said. A few weeks ago, the Presidential Office did not announce the head of state’s vacation. According to, Pavel spent it in Spain.

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