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Kmenta, Jaroslav

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Mladá fronta dnes - Czech Republic | 28/03/2012

Mirek Topolánek on the dark side of Czech politics

The Czech Republic has been rocked by a scandal. Transcripts of conversations monitored by the secret police in 2007 show that the decisions of the mayor of Prague at the time, Pavel Bém of the conservative governing party ODS, were influenced by lobbyists led by a man named Roman Janoušek. In an interview with the liberal daily Mladá fronta Dnes, Mirek Topolánek, who was prime minister at the time, a fellow member of the ODS and Bém's adversary said that this was only the tip of the iceberg: "Clientelism exists all over the world. The self-cleansing properties of democracy play a key role here. Here in the Czech Republic the police, the public prosecutors and the judiciary must work quite differently. Our problem is that business, politics, judges and media are entirely interconnected. … In the 1990s big things were at stake here. Property worth hundreds of billions was redistributed. The lobbyist Janoušek is just a small fish with hundreds of millions. But we are dealing here with powerful people who have billions and billions. They play their game with the state. And the system loses against them."

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