Former member of communist riot squad elected head of committee overseeing police

02-03-2018 updated

Communist Party deputy Zdeněk Ondráček has been elected head of the lower house’s committee overseeing the General Inspection of the Security Services.

Ondráček was supported by 79 MPs from ANO and the Communist Party in a second round of voting, after failing to acquire enough votes in the first round.

His rivals for the post Zuzana Majerová Zahradníková from the Civic Democrats received 32 votes and Mikuláš Ferjenčík from the Pirates Party 29 votes.

Controversy has surrounded efforts to install Mr. Ondráček in the post, given the fact the inspection body oversees the police and that as a young man he was a member of a Communist-era riot squad.

In an address to the lower house Ondráček said he had joined the police because he “liked uniforms” and denied claims that he had taken part in the brutal crack-down on students on Národní třída in 1989.

Right-wing parties have denounced his election to the post as "scandalous" calling it "a sad day for the country". Justice Minister Robert Pelikán from ANO told the news site he is considering resigning in protest.