Thursday, 24 April 2014

Zeman welcomes some ČSSD senators not joining anti-Klaus charges

28 February 2013

Prague, Feb 27 (CTK) - Czech president-elect Milos Zeman yesterday welcomed it that some senators for the senior opposition Social Democrats (CSSD) did not join the high treason lawsuit against outgoing President Vaclav Klaus, initiated by their party colleagues and signed by 28 senators so far.

Senate chairman Milan Stech (CSSD) took it over from the complainants earlier yesterday.

The organisational committee of the left-dominated Senate recommended yesterday that senators approve the complaint against Klaus.

The upper house of parliament will hold an extraordinary session on the issue at 10:00 on Monday.

At least 27 senators' signatures are necessary for the upper house to vote on whether the complaint will be lodged with the Constitutional Court (US).

"I believe that if some senators are suing President Klaus for high treason, it is a very exaggerated term. I welcomed it that some CSSD senators are among those who have rejected the proposal," Zeman told journalists.

Zeman, now honorary chairman of the Party of Citizens' Rights (SPOZ), was CSSD chairman and prime minister. He left the party in 2007.

The treason lawsuit, the first such complaint against a Czech president, is linked to Klaus's New Year's amnesty.

The amnesty has aroused an outcry by its extent and by halting the proceedings in some closely-watched corruption and fraud cases.

Zeman, winner of the January direct presidential polls, will be sworn in as president on March 8, one day after Klaus's second and last five-year mandate expires.

Zeman, who criticised the amnesty in the past weeks, on Tuesday said he does not consider it high treason.

The proposed complaint does not mention the amnesty only. The senators also criticise Klaus for not having signed an addendum to the Lisbon Treaty on a new rescue fund of the euro zone - the European Stabilisation Mechanism (ESM).

One of the petition initiators, Miroslav Antl (for the CSSD), chairman of the Senate constitutional-legal committee, mentions among reasons on his web page the fact that Klaus was hesitating for four years to sign an addendum to the European Social Charter and that he "did not appoint any Constitutional Court judge for almost one year."

Antl and other senators believe that when doing so, Klaus repeatedly acted against the sovereignty of the republic and against its democratic order.

CSSD senators' group head Petr Vicha said after the group's meeting yesterday that 20 of the 45 CSSD senators have signed the complaint against Klaus. In the group's internal vote yesterday, the complaint was supported by 18 of the 32 senators present.

CSSD chairman Bohuslav Sobotka told journalists yesterday that it is a matter of the senator group and that the party leadership made no recommendation.

Sobotka said he personally supports the proposal and that if he were senator, he would join it.

He said he is convinced that Klaus was often moving on the edge of constitutionality and may be beyond it in the past years.

Sobotka mentioned Klaus's delay in signing an addendum to the European Social Charter.

The Senate has a total of 81 seats. A majority of all senators present is needed for the Senate to lodge the complaint with the US.

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