Friday, 18 April 2014

Social Democrats for no-confidence vote next week

9 January 2013

Prague, Jan 8 (CTK) - Social Democrats (CSSD) want to stage a no-confidence vote in the Czech cabinet over the amnesty declared by President Vaclav Klaus and counter-signed by Prime Minister Petr Necas next week, party leader Bohuslav Sobotka told journalists Tuesday.

The strongest opposition party has also proposed that the debate include changes to the constitution that are to limit the scope of amnesties, Sobotka said.

An extraordinary Chamber of Deputies session must be called by its chairwoman Miroslava Nemcova (Civic Democratic Party, ODS) upon the request of at least 50 deputies "without any hesitation."

Jeronym Tejc, chairman of the CSSD deputy group, is of the view that the vote may be held on January 17.

However, given the current balance of power in the lower house, the government is likely to survive the vote again.

The CSSD is speaking about the unacceptable scope and content of the amnesty.

It says Klaus and Necas have not disclosed any details of its preparation.

"We would like to use the debate on the no-confidence vote to ask Necas and Justice Minister Pavel Blazek (ODS) how the shameful form of the amnesty could have arisen," Sobotka said.

CSSD deputy chairman Michal Hasek said the ministers who faced some problem with the amnesty had a chance of leaving the government. "Those raising the hand for the government, vote for the amnesty," he added.

Hasek, chairman of the Association of Regions, said regional governors would stage a meeting with Interior Minister Jan Kubice to be told how security would be ensured in connection with the amnesty.

The government should release some money from its reserves, Hasek said.

The amnesty, declared on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Czech Republic, applies to convicts with low suspended or prison sentences, elderly convicts and also suspects whose criminal proceedings have lasted for more than eight years. The prosecution is halted if the maximum prison sentence that can be imposed in such cases does not exceed ten years.

The amnesty has been sharply criticised mainly because it halts the criminal proceedings in some closely watched cases of financial crime and corruption.

Some of the released convicts have already committed crime.

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