Czech President Miloš Zeman has confirmed he will run for a second term.After much speculation, 72-year-old Zeman confirmed the run at a meeting with key backers on Thursday.
Zeman, known abroad for his strong opposition to Islamism and mass immigration, his endorsement of Donald J. Trump for the U.S. presidency, and his calls for more constructive relations between the West and the Russian Federation, is the Czech Republic’s most popular politician, as well as its first directly-elected head of state.
His spokesman, Jiří Ovčáček, caused consternation in Brussels when he tweeted that “Trump protects his country, he’s concerned with the safety of his citizens. Exactly what EU elites do not do”, shortly after the U.S. president first introduced travel restrictions on asylum seekers and nationals of certain countries identified as a terror risk by the Obama administration.
Zeman believes the migrant influx poses an existential threat to Europe, as well an imminent physical threat, cautioning that “if European countries accept a wave of migrants, there will be terrorist groups among them, of which also a Libyan minister has warned” in November 2016.
“By accepting the migrants, we strongly facilitate Islamic State’s expansion to Europe.”
Months later, he said “Muslims should remain in the countries where they live [and] they should work in them, and they should not go to Europe, where they do not want to work,” following revelations that just 3 per cent of the 1.2 million new arrivals to Germany had found jobs.
Zeman has also agreed with President Trump that “dishonest media are part of a corrupt system”, favouring a political approach centred on direct engagement with members of the public.
He is also unusual among EU leaders in his strong support of the right of self-defence for citizens. He has urged Czechs “to arm themselves against terrorists”, as in Israel, where “almost every man walks with a machine gun over his shoulder” and perpetrating Paris-style attacks on the ordinary public is much more difficult.
Zeman has been forthright in his belief that Europe is “facing an organised invasion and not a spontaneous movement of refugees.”
“The experience of Western European countries which have ghettos and excluded localities shows that the integration of the Muslim community is practically impossible,” he said.
“Let them have their culture in their countries and not take it to Europe, otherwise it will end up like Cologne.”