Taking the recent escalation in global conspiracy theories, according to which such and such president is a Manchurian Candidate of this or that foreign power, to their next comedic level, on Friday the Czech Republic’s conservative Euroskeptic president, Milos Zeman, declared that he is an agent of not only Putin, but also various other leaders and nations, during a press conference where he announced his intention to run for a second term. Speaking in Prague, Zeman launched his 2018 re-election campaign, and during the televized event vowed not to change his controversial conservative platform, which includes prioritizing Czech interests over pan-European ones.
Zeman has often been at odds with the government of Social Democrat Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, which has been a supporter of Brussels on issues like anti-Russian sanctions and immigration. Though largely a figurehead like in many other European states, with limited executive authority in the Czech Republic, Zeman, who won the office in 2013, remains one of the country’s most popular figures, especially in the villages. Among other policies frowned upon by Brussels, he has advocated nurturing closer ties with Russia and China, supporting Israel, and limiting the inflow of asylum seekers from Muslim nations.
Czech President Milos Zeman, Reuters
When asked by a Russian TV channel whether he was concerned about being branded a Russian agent, Zeman - who like Trump has been accused of having a pro-Russian bias by the local press - satirized the Czech media for criticizing his position on Moscow.
“I am an agent of Russia, and particularly of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin” he declared, speaking in Russian. “I should add that I am also an agent of the Chinese President. Lately also of the new American President. I am an agent of Israel, which I have been supporting all this time.”
On a more serious note, he then clarified by saying that, in reality he is the agent of only one country, the Czech Republic
Zeman said media criticism was among the factors that had prompted him to seek re-election. “Each of their attacks encouraged me more to run. Thank you, Czech media,” he explained.
As RT adds, the only other contender for the presidency is businessman and writer Michal Horacek, who has launched a campaign with the slogan “We can do better.”
Zeman will name the country’s next prime minister before he leaves office. Sobotka’s Social Democrats are running an uphill battle against their ruling coalition rivals, the ANO movement of billionaire Finance Minister Andrej Babis. In taking a page out of the Trump playbook, Babis' campaign is based on rooting out corruption and running the country like his business, an idea that resonates favorably with many voters.
Sobotka, who won the party’s leadership on Friday, argues that Babis dislikes democracy and has conflicts of interests. Zeman may favor Babis over Sobodka to form a new coalition government, if neither party wins a majority of parliamentary seats in October.