Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections, in which the Republican nominee defeated Hillary Clinton, has stunned political leaders all around the world. In the Czech Republic, as elsewhere, politicians have mostly reacted with uncertainty about what his victory will mean for the international community, but they also highlighted the fact that the democratic process was respected.
As the results of the US elections started to become clear on Wednesday, politicians around the world, including the Czech Republic, began to react to this ground breaking moment in US history. Most of the reactions across the Czech Republic’s political spectrum urged caution.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka congratulated Donald Trump on his victory, expressing hope that the US will remain the Czech Republic’s reliable partner and ally. He also pointed out that Trump’s campaign had been characterised by aggressive populism and an appeal to protest voters, adding that one of the most difficult tasks awaiting the new president will be uniting a divided society.
One of the few Czech politicians to enthusiastically welcome the Trump victory was President Miloš Zeman.
“I am very happy with the result of the US elections and I would like to congratulate Mr Donald Trump. As you know, I was one of the few European politicians to express my public support for this candidate because I agree with his views on migration and the fight again Islamic terrorism. I think it shows the will of the American people not to be manipulated by the public media.”
The Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Lubomír Zaorálek, currently on a visit to South Korea, told Czech Radio that Trump’s victory will deliver new political perspectives, cautioning that the post-election reality might differ from his pronouncements during the campaign:
“I think that there are still questions about foreign policy, but Donald Trump will undoubtedly deliver new political perspectives, including foreign policy. It definitely brings a new dimension to the trans-Atlantic partnership, but what exactly the changes will be are not entirely clear right now. But concerning the EU-US trade deal, I am sceptical about its future.”
The Czech Republic’s European commissioner Věra Jourová has also cast doubt on the future of TTIP, and highlighted the need to respect the decision of US voters:
“The change of US administration under Donald Trump will be a new situation for Europe and I think we can expect changes in the direction of US foreign policy. It is crucial for Europe now to keep the United States as a strategic partner, which will be reliable and predictable and maintain cooperation in the areas of trade, business, and defence.”
Among the politicians who expressed his worries about the outcome of US presidential elections was the deputy chair of the lower house Petr Gazdík who said Trump’s victory was not good news for Europe or the rest of the world and could lead to isolationism.
Meanwhile, the US ambassador to the Czech Republic, Andrew Shapiro, told Czech Television he did not expect any changes in the US’s relationship with NATO to take place under the new leadership.