Nečas: Savvy Politician or Inept in Handling His Image?

People who follow the doings of the Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas often say he has no charisma. A colorless, tasteless style meant to keep him in a safe political zone. No wonder, after all the scandals that have been hitting his coalition government since June 2010. However, long term the Czech Prime Minister might cause himself a huge harm. What nation needs a leader with no spine? The European Council in Brussels on January 30 and the follow-up events added to the impression. 

What game is Nečas playing? 

The European Union (EU) leaders reached an agreement after the European Council dedicated to the union’s financial future. The outcome: 25 countries agreed to sign a budgetary discipline treaty aimed to cut the EU public debt and stimulate youth employment, among others. Only two countries — the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic — stood against, and carried through on that threat.

While the UK has its reasons (a large part of its economy comes from the City and the financial sector, which will suffer if people borrow less), the Czech Republic is far from that status. So, why would the Czechs refuse to be a part of a mission to run a more financially responsible Europe, particularly when the current government won its mandate in 2010 on a similar promise? The only person who could answer this riddle is the Nečas.

After the European Council, French president Nicolas Sarkozy declared he didn’t have a clue as to what was going on in Prague, thus he couldn’t understand the reasoning of the Czech prime minister. Particularly he was confused about why what was acceptable in December is not acceptable anymore.

It’s hard to believe that Sarkozy, Merkel and other EU leaders don’t know that Nečas is the close protégé of the Czech president Václav Klaus. It is Klaus who discovered the sweet flavor of global visibility when he refused to sign the Lisbon Treaty in 2009 and thus brought the eyes of all international media on him. Funny enough, one hilarious video placed on YouTube in 2011 — the Chile pen “theft”— brought him more visibility than he could have wished for. Now, Klaus wants more (albeit of a different kind). It seems he wants to make sure it will be him who will have the last word to say on the future of Europe. Quite a powerful position, isn’t it? A pity this position doesn’t belong to Petr Nečas.

Savvy politician or spine-free puppet? 

Let’s take a look at the major events that have been building Petr Nečas’s reputation after his appointment as Prime Minister in June 2010.

  1. He becomes Prime Minister by presenting himself as incorruptible. Yet, his hands are tight and he can’t get rid of all the interest groups attached to his ministries.
  2. He surrounds himself with people from previous governments who don’t always enjoy the best reputation – one case is the former minister of industry and trade Martin Říman, whose position as chief advisor is now under question.
  3. The first minister to leave Nečas’s cabinet after less than six months on a corruption affair comes from within his ranks — ODS.
  4. His government undergoes more scandals all throughout 2011 and more ministers leave his cabinet.
  5. Not everyone leaves the cabinet: the minister of defense Alexandr Vondra is still under suspicion on his role played in the ProMoPro affair and still in the cabinet.
  6. Nečas takes on weight – tabloid pictures portray him a year after his appointment. Despite his considerable height, we see a man who probably undergoes a lot of stress, sleeps little, eats irregularly and seems to have lost control over his own body.
  7. Nečas boosts his reputation short term after the clever winter clean-up of the social democrats from the Prague City Hall. Yet, most fruits are collected by the Prague mayor Bohuslav Svoboda.

Petr Nečas is known for his endurance. Maybe he is following a clever strategy to play safe at home and gain enough power in order to act. This is only hope. His current reputation is far from clever: he leaves the impression of a spineless politician, hands tied behind his back, who couldn’t care less about his image. With more than 3,500 friends on Facebook, he allows people to post items on his wall to which no one bothers to answer for days and for months. To the Europeans who need a more financially responsible union — and to the Czechs who voted ODS hoping Nečas will make a difference — this is truly bad news.

THIS TEXT HAS FIRST BEEN PUBLISHED ON MARCH 15, 2012, ON THE BLOG MEDIAPOWER BY CZECHPOSITION.COM http://www.ceskapozice.cz/en/blog/cristina-muntean/necas-savvy-politician-or-inept-handling-his-image

Let's Talk

The best way to gain, retain, and restore your critical distance as a woman CEO is to have a faithful guide, thought partner, and inspiring challenger by your side. This is what I am for women CEOs. If you are facing major developments in your business or in your career this year, we should talk. Please book or have your assistant book a no-strings-attached free 30-minute CEO exploration call with me; we will get to know each other and I will be thrilled to spot how I could be of your service in 2024 and beyond.
Cristina Muntean
Follow me on LinkedIn

Let's Talk

The best way to gain, retain, and restore your critical distance as a woman CEO is to have a faithful guide, thought partner, and inspiring challenger by your side. This is what I am for women CEOs. If you are facing major developments in your business or in your career this year, we should talk. Please book or have your assistant book a no-strings-attached free 30-minute CEO exploration call with me; we will get to know each other and I will be thrilled to spot how I could be of your service in 2024 and beyond.