INAUGURATION SPEECH OF MILOŠ ZEMAN
Dear Mr President Klaus, dear Madam Klausová, dear Madam Havlová, dear members of the Government, dear honourable members of the Legislative body, dear distinguished guests.
I stand before you as the first President of the Czech Republic chosen in direct elections.
I am aware of the enormous responsibility which is associated with this post and I am ready to fulfil this responsibility. First I would like to thank all the citizens who gave me their ballot. I received a number of congratulations from the whole country, and since it is not in my power to answer them individually, let me express my thanks to them at least this way.
Allow me also to express my appreciation to those citizens who voted for my opponent, for their participation in the elections and the exercise of their active citizenship. Each of us experienced victories and defeats in our lifetime. I know how difficult it is to bear the burden of defeat, but I also know how hard it is to resist the temptation brought by victory. That is why I declared that I want to be the President of all citizens, regardless of their political views. I am aware that I cannot fulfil this obligation with mere words, but primarily with tangible deeds during my tenure. I also said that I wanted to be the voice of the lower ten million underprivileged citizens, since the privileged ones have acquired their voice, or rather voices, already a long time ago.
Considering the fact that I would like to discuss my idea of the cooperation between the President, the Government and the Parliament with the representatives of these institutions, let me in today's speech focus on three basic goals that I associate with the execution of my presidential duties.
The first goal is to pacify and stabilize the Czech political scene. I am fully aware that this is an unattainable task for any individual without the support of the public. But I follow the principle that it is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness. I offer the presidency as a neutral field for dialogue for all parliamentary parties as well as other important social organizations, be they trade unions, employers' associations or other institutions.
As a President who is not directly or indirectly associated with any parliamentary party, I offer myself, if the involved parties wish so, as a mediator and moderator, but certainly not as a judge, since that is not the role if the President of the Republic. I speak from experience when in the past the two strongest parties in the Parliament were able to agree and to keep this agreement completely; thus it was possible for the Czech Republic to overcome the past economic crisis and to restore economic growth.
I believe that through a wider platform based on factual and, if possible, friendly dialogue among all relevant entities we will find a common ground in the interest of the further development of the Czech Republic and the protection of its legitimate national interests.
The second goal, that I consider important in the performance of the presidency, is the support of, what I have been calling for over twenty years, the islands of positive deviation. These are islands which achieve above-average accomplishments. They are individuals, whose life's work is of benefit to our country. They are mainly businesspeople of the Bata type who reinvest their profits in their field of business and who, with their new investments, create new jobs, lower unemployment, and duly pay taxes to the state treasury. They are successful mayors, who were able to improve their communities or their cities. They are leaders in the areas of education, health, science, culture and sport. And I would like to meet these individuals and I would like to increase the number of given state awards at present, because I believe that many people who have contributed to the development of the Czech Republic with their life's work deserve such an award. I do not forget, however, that in this country there are millions of people who carry out, in Masaryk's words, the tiny, heavy, patient and honest work. These people are the salt of the earth, and that these are the very people who form the breeding ground from which these outstanding personalities rise. Therefore, I would like to meet with them during my visits to individual regions as often as possible and I would like to regularly account for my presidential activities to them.
Besides the support of the islands of positive deviation the President must fight their opposite - the islands of negative deviation.
One of the most dangerous of these islands are godfather mafias, which parasite on the body of Czech society, suck the blood out of this body and do not give any added value back to this society, either in the form of new investments or by paying taxes. I am deeply convinced that the most effective tool in the fight against these economic mafias is the law on proving the origin of incomes and property, including the possibility to seize illegally obtained, or stolen, property. And even if the President does not have legislative initiative, I will be trying patiently to persuade deputies and senators to propose such a law and to pass it.
The second island of such negative deviations is, in my opinion, the neo-Nazi squads that sometimes rage in the streets of our cities. Their members follow an ideology that, if victorious, would lead to the annihilation of the Czech nation, and thus themselves.
I consider a significant part of the Czech media as the third island of negative deviation. The part, that focuses on brainwashing, media hype and the manipulation of the public opinion. The part, whose leaders remarkably combine minimum knowledge and maximum confidence. Talkative commentators who write about everything while they comprehend nothing remind me of Čapek's definition of a literary critic as someone who advises writers on how he would write a book, if he knew how to.
The President must support successful personalities who are beneficial to the society and who are often surrounded by envious stupidity. And he must constantly say to them - do not get annoyed, and on the contrary to jealous fools, who maintain no personal honest work, he must constantly say - do not annoy.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am aware of the fact that I cannot accomplish these three tasks alone. Therefore, I offer a friendly hand for cooperation regardless of political affiliation to all those who consider these three tasks important and who are willing to contribute to their fulfilment. Let me conclude my today's speech, although as a tolerant atheist, with a prayer, which many of you are familiar with.
God grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can. And wisdom to know the difference.
Thank you for your attention.