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.
The Czech police have proposed that the former regional governor of the
Usti region Jiří Šulc be charged with abuse of office, news site
Aktuálně reported on Wednesday. Investigators believe that Mr. Šulc
influenced the selection procedure for the director of the ROP Severozápad
who was responsible for allocating EU funds in the northwest of the
The benefactor of this action was to be Mr. Šulc’s acquaintance Petr Kušnierz, the former head of ROP Severozápad, who was sentenced to prison in 2017 for influencing grant projects in the region.
According to Aktuálně the police have also asked for criminal charges against Mr. Kušnierz’s predecessor in the position Petr Vráblík, who they believe took part in manipulating the grants.
Both Mr. Šulc and Mr. Vráblík have denied any wrongdoing in their previous statements.
For the first time in its history the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia has polled below the minimum 5 percent threshold necessary to get into the Chamber of Deputies. While some commentators have called this a sign that they are headed for the dustbin of history, party chairman Vojtěch Filip says that the survey, conducted by the Kantar agency in August, is unreliable. I asked political commentator Jiří Pehe what he makes of the poll.
The lower house of Parliament will debate a Senate proposal to file a
constitutional complaint against President Miloš Zeman on September 26,
without any specific recommendation from the chamber’s Committee for
Legal Matters, the ctk news agency reported. The committee’s only
recommendation is that the debate should be public.
The proposal was approved by the Senate in July. If it is passed by the lower house, it will reach the Constitutional Court.
However, this is unlikely, due to the ruling ANO-Social Democrat coalition, supported by the Communist Party, holding a majority in the Chamber of Deputies.
The complaint is based on the president’s recent procrastination tactics in sacking and naming a new culture minister and his frequent unwillingness to adhere to the government’s set foreign policy line.
Czech President Miloš Zeman has said he holds Jaroslav Šaroch, the state
attorney who halted the prosecution of PM Andrej Babiš over suspected EU
subsidy fraud, in high esteem, praising him for having the courage to defy
the "the media gang” hounding the prime minister and change his
position on the case. In an interview for commercial TV Barrandov, Mr.
Zeman said Šaroch's report on the case should be available to the
The Prague Municipal State Attorney's Office said on Monday that Šaroch had changed his legal opinion on the case and that his superior is now checking whether the change is substantiated and in accordance with law.
Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman and Jusice Minister Marie Benešová, have both criticized the approach of the Prague state attorney’s office toward the case. In an interview for Denik N, Mrs. Benešová said the prosecutors’ work was incomprehensible and sent a bad signal about the state of the system of state attorneys.
The municipal state attorney’s office in Prague is expected to say on
Monday whether criminal charges will be brought against the Czech prime
minister, Andrej Babiš, and members of his family. The police have
recommended that charges be filed over suspicion of abuse of EU subsidies
in connection with Stork’s Nest, a hotel and conference centre near
Prague. The prosecutor had until the end of August to come to a decision on
the matter. The case file is reported to contain 23,000 pages.
Some members of the junior party in government, the Social Democrats, have called for ANO leader Babiš to stand down. However, party chairman Jan Hamáček says the Social Democrats will remain in the coalition even if the PM is charged.
The former deputy head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Czech
Republic (ÚZSI) Zdeněk Blahut has been charged with fraud and abuse of
office, the Public Prosecutor's Office in Prague reported on Friday.
No further details were released.
According to the news site idnes.cz Blahut’s detention is part of an ongoing investigation into the financial management of the Foreign Intelligence Service. The news site claims the police also questioned the former head of the Foreign Intelligence Service Jiří Šašek and the former interior minister Milan Chovanec, who appointed Blahut to office. Chovanec later dismissed the claim.
The Foreign Intelligence Service’s principal goal is to provide foreign intelligence vital for the security and protection of the Czech Republic’s foreign policy interests and economic interests.
Blahut served as its deputy head from September 2014 until January of this year.
On the occasion of the 30-year anniversary of the Velvet Revolution which
led to the fall of communism in November 1989, the Czech Senate will hold
three conferences, the speaker of the upper house Jaroslav Kubera told
journalists on Wednesday.
These will not only focus on the Velvet Revolution, but two further events that took place during the last two months of 1989 – the canonisation of St. Agnes of Bohemia and the reestablishment of the Czech Scouts movement. According to Senate Speaker Kubera the reason behind organising the three conferences is the current relativizing of the values and heritage of November 17, 1989 and the Senate’s role as a guarantor of the constitutional order.
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