The Czech Republic’s top officials met to clear up the country’s stand on a number of a hot foreign policy issues on Thursday, voicing condemnation of the Turkish military offensive in northern Syria and rejecting President Zeman’s proposal for the Czech Republic to revoke its recognition of Kosovo as an independent state.
President Miloš Zeman will continue using Czech-made Skoda cars in office,
the Office of the President reported.
On the occasion of the president’s 75th birthday on Saturday, Skoda Auto representatives presented the head of state with a new, third-generation Skoda Superb. He will also have a new SUV, a Kodiaq, at his disposal.
As Zeman posed for photographers in front of the new Skoda, he reiterated the view that a Czech president should ride in a car made in the Czech Republic.
A bid by opposition MPs to remove President Zeman from office failed on Thursday, as the lower house rejected a proposal to file a constitutional complain against the Czech head of state. The complaint, approved by the Senate, accused the president of repeatedly overstepping his powers in breach of the constitutional order and trying to create a semi-presidential system.
After a debate that took up most of the day, the constitutional complaint
against President Miloš Zeman did not pass through the Chamber of Deputies
on Thursday, receiving only 58 votes and therefore missing the required
mark of 120 by a wide margin. MPs from the Pirate party, the Civic
Democrats, TOP09 and the Christian Democrats voted in favour of the motion,
while the ANO party, the Social Democrats, the Communist Party and the
Freedom and Direct Democracy party either voted against the complaint or
The complaint sought to bring the matter to the Constitutional Court which, after examining the case, could rule that the president acted in “blunt breach of the Constitution”. It narrowly passed through the Senate in July, but was not expected to pass through the lower house due to the fact that the ruling coalition together with the Communist Party and the Freedom and Direct Democracy party stated that they would not support it.
The vote was preceded by long discussions, which included heated exchanges between the representatives of the opposition parties in favour of the complaint and those supporting the president. Senator Václav Láska, who authored the complaint, said that President Miloš Zeman is intent on making the government responsible to him rather than the Chamber of Deputies and that this was the central motive that connected all of the points raised against his behaviour in the complaint.
The chairman of the ANO party's deputies' club, Jaroslav Faltýnek, accused Mr. Láska of holding hateful feelings towards the president, while Social Democrat deputy, Kateřina Valachová, said that the complaint contained too many points and would have had a greater chance if it focused purely on the president's actions regarding the appointment of ministers.
President Zeman says he did not violate the constitution.
Czech President Miloš Zeman is not planning to take part in events
commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which marked
the end of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia.
In an interview for the website Blesk, the Czech head of state said he would remember the events of November 1989 alone at home. He also said most people who would attend the events had not taken part in them 30 years ago.
Last year, angry protestors at Národní Street threw away the flowers laid to the monument at Prague’s Národní Street by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and the populist politician Tomio Okamura, as well as the wreath sent by the president.
President Miloš Zeman will sign into a law an extended bill on electronic
cash registers as soon as he receives it. Mr Zeman made the statement on
Sunday in an interview for the website Blesk.cz.
The amendment to the bill on cash registers, approved by MPs earlier this month, extends the duty to report sales electronically to professions that are not yet subject to it, including craftsmen, doctors, lawyers and taxi drivers.
The amendment will also allow small businesses with sales of up to 600,000 crowns to record sales in off-line mode using paper receipts. At the same time some services and goods, such as, catering, cleaning services or home care will move to the lowest 10% VAT rate.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš introduced the EET in 2016, when he was the finance minister, to counter the grey economy and tax fraud.
President Miloš Zeman said in a television interview on Thursday he would
use his power to halt the possible prosecution of Prime Minister Andrej
Babiš if Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman were to invalidate a decision
by the Prague State Attorney’s Office to close the case involving the
prime minister and his family.
The president’s remarks aired on the same day the Prague State Attorney’s Office published a detailed explanation of its decision to halt a four-year-long investigation into suspected EU subsidy fraud by Mr Babiš.
Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman has three months in which he must either confirm or invalidate the decision.
Opposition politicians have denounced the president for attempting to influence the judiciary.The leader of the Civic Democrats, Petr Fiala, has suggested holding a meeting of opposition party leaders to formulate a joint stand on the matter ahead of Tuesday’s session of the lower house.
The Supreme State Attorney’s Office said the president’s words would not affect their work.
President Miloš Zeman has said he would halt a criminal investigation into the so-called Stork’s Nest case that has dogged Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) for years. His talk of a possible ‘pardon’ has been widely condemned as an attempt to undermine the judiciary – and contradicts a vow he made before being re-elected president.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has refused to speculate about whether he
would accept President Zeman’s gesture to halt his possible prosecution
if Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman were to invalidate the decision of
the Prague State Attorney’s Office.
If he were to accept such a solution it would mean that he himself would have to countersign the president’s order.
Besieged by journalists over the matter, Mr. Babiš said he was sorry the president had spoken as he did since it had sparked a storm of criticism based on mere speculation. “No crime was committed and I am confident I will not be charged,” he said.
Foreign policy issues topped the agenda of a meeting between President
Miloš Zeman and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš on Monday evening.
Mr. Babiš said the consultations had covered a broad range of issues including a planned summit of Visegrad heads of state in Prague in October, Mr. Babiš‘ participation in the UN General Assembly in New York and the president’s recent visit to Serbia during which Mr. Zeman said he wanted to discuss the possibility of renouncing the Czech recognition of an independent Kosovo with Czech top officials.
Prime Minister Babiš, who said earlier that he saw no reason to change the Czech position on Kosovo, said he had listened to the president‘s arguments and promised that the matter would be put to the country’s top officials at one of the regular meetings held to coordinate foreign policy matters.