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First decisions of Ms. Peake: the iron fist without the velvet glove

Published : 14 December 2012
426 words in that article

Suspense did not last long: twelve hours after being promoted Minister of Defense, Karolina Peake started some changes in the top management in her Ministry, provoking thus President’s anger and Premier’s surprise.

On 13th December she dismissed General Picek, 1st deputy Minister of Defense in charge of international relations, Brigadier Bulant, Director of national Armament and František Šulc, the head of Minister Cabinet. The reason invoked is the “demilitarization” of positions which should be – according to Ms. Peake – held by civilians. This excuse looks passably fallacious because except Brigadier Bulant who is still an active officer, General Picek is retired and František Šulc is a civilian. So it appears that Ms. Peake has chosen political games rather than continuity.

The question is: “Why did she choose to act so quickly”? Revoking Mr. Šulc was a logical step, because the head of a Minister Cabinet is always somebody close to the Minister himself. But for general Picek, the reason could be different; it may be a way to prepare a prestigious position for one of her accomplices. I would bet for Viktor Paggio, young Representative quite ambitious, and vice-president of the Defense and Security Committee of the National Assembly, who would get a job with a higher visibility. Apparently the position of Deputy Minister for armament was not good enough.

Ms. Peake says that she is not planning numerous changes. However, firing three high ranking officials less than 24 hours after her nomination, gives cause for concern. One could say that she chose the iron fist rather than the velvet glove. Terror and tyranny is sometimes an obvious way of management for somebody inexperienced but having a strong sense of self-confidence: “Divide and rule”, this is apparently the way chosen by the new minister.

Instead of waiting for some days, telling her subordinates what are her intentions in order to allow a smooth reconversion – which would have been an elegant way of behavior for the first moves within the Ministry – Ms. Peake decided quickly, obviously confusing speed with haste.
The consequence of theses first steps may be the total paralysis of the Ministry: everybody will fear for his job and will rather use his energy to save his position. Fawning behaviors aiming at pleasing the Minister should quickly flourish.

Who will be next? The following days could also be surprising. “The little girl”, as she was named by President Klaus, has decided to show the Czech Republic that she does not intend to be only an ornament. However, the result might be fierce!!!