President Miloš Zeman on Wednesday invited the self-proclaimed interim
president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, to visit the Czech Republic, and
congratulated the National Assembly leader on assuming the provisional
The gesture, announced by the president’s spokesman, came two days after the Czech government recognized Mr Guaidó as the legitimate leader of the South American country until free and transparent elections are called.
President Zeman noting that this year is the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and collapse of the communist regime in the former Czechoslovakia, said in the invitation, “I hope that your transition to democracy will succeed”.
Mr Guaidó took the presidential oath on January 23 after the National Assembly failed to recognize the second term of incumbent Nicolás Madura, who won re-election last year in a vote that international observers said was clearly rigged.
Senators from the Liberal Democratic Caucus - Senator 21 say they will take
legal action against President Miloš Zeman for alleged gross violations of
Senator 21 caucus head, Václav Láska, told reporters the impetus stemmed from improper interventions by the president and his staff.
Last week a proposal by another Senator 21 member to file a “constitutional action” against President Zeman over suspicions he had tried to exert influence over the courts was rejected, as he hadn’t secured the backing of at least one-third of the Senate to do so.
The Chamber of Deputies judiciary subcommittee says the independence of the
Supreme Administrative Court and the Constitutional Court was not
endangered by communications with the president, Miloš Zeman, and his
chancellor, Vratislav Mynář. Chairman Pavel Blažek said this position
had been reached unanimously by the subcommittee. It also recommended that
judges report any attempts to sway their rulings to the chairs of their
Mr. Zeman and his right hand man have been accused in recent weeks of seeking to influence court decisions. Mr. Mynář, who appeared before the judiciary subcommittee last week, denies any wrongdoing.
President Miloš Zeman’s chancellor, Vratislav Mynař, has withdrawn an
appeal filed with the Administrative Court against the decision of the
National Security Office not to give him top-level security clearance. The
chancellor said he did not trust the judge to rule impartially on the
According to the president’s spokesman Chancellor Mynař will remain in office despite failing to get security clearance.
The matter has been debated since 2013 with politicians and the media pointing out that the chancellor regularly attends events where security clearance is expected.
In 2015 President Zeman said that if Mr. Mynař failed to get it, he would dismiss him from the post.
Opposition deputies have criticized the chancellor’s decision and the stated reasons for it, calling the move arrogant, cowardly and dangerous.
If President Miloš Zeman suggested he would name a judge chief justice of the Constitutional Court in exchange for making certain judicial decisions, he “may have committed a crime” or been planning one. So says Minister of Justice Jan Kněžínek. While the jury is still out, so to speak, a complaint has already been filed against the president’s chancellor.
Money from church restitution taxes could be used to fund repairs of
cultural monuments, President Miloš Zeman said in a televised interview on
Thursday. He said he would propose this to Minister of Culture Antonín
Staněk (Social Democrats).
Czech MPs on Wednesday approved a tax on the billions in annual payments the state is making to the country’s 16 churches and a Jewish organisation to compensate for assets seized by the Communist regime.
Critics say the tax – proposed by the Communists and supported by the minority ANO-Social Democrat government – is unconstitutional.
If approved by the Senate and signed into law by President Zeman, the state stands to recover about 380 million crowns annually from the roughly 2 billion crowns it now transfers to the religious groups under bilateral agreements.
The Catholic Church, the largest single denomination with over 1 million followers, is slated to receive about 80 percent of the compensation package.
Former Supreme Administrative Court chairman Josef Baxa told a hearing of
the lower house of Parliament justice subcommittee on Wednesday that
President Miloš Zeman had urged him in private meetings last spring to
arrange for certain decisions at his court.
Mr Baxa told MPs he considered the request inappropriate and that it felt as if the president were offering to appoint him as Constitutional Court chief justice in exchange for achieving certain judicial rulings. Minister of Justice Jan Kněžínek (ANO) said on Thursday that if true, that would amount to a criminal act or attempted criminal act.
The hearing on Wednesday was called over suspicions that the president’s chancellor, Vratislav Mynář, had repeatedly tried to influence the courts in cases relating to the Office of the President or ones in which President Zeman had a vested interest.
Mr Mynář said he and the president had merely acquainted Mr Baxa with their opinions on various matters. He admitted that he had “consulted” with Constitutional Court judges, including Vojtěch Šimíček, presenting the President’s objections regarding planned changes to the Labour Act.
Subcommittee chairman MP Pavel Blažek (Civic Democrats) said that the matter was serious enough to warrant a subcommittee resolution but not to launch a separate investigation.
President Miloš Zeman says Beijing cancelled a meeting between China’s
foreign minister and his Czech counterpart in response to Czech warnings
over Chinese-made Huawei technology. Speaking in a TV interview on Thursday
evening, he said China had also postponed a meeting of an intergovernmental
commission on economic cooperation without offering a new date.
However, a spokesperson for the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the intergovernmental committee meeting had been rescheduled and that this had been confirmed by Chinese officials.
The Czech cyber watchdog agency said last month that using Huawei or ZET products could prove a security threat. In addition, the country’s most important organisations have been ordered to carry out assessments of the risks involved in using such Chinese technology.
Mr. Zeman said he would like to meet the head of Huawei to clear the situation up during a visit to China in April.