Sunday, 20 August 2017

Srp not to be on Czech totalitarian study institute board

ČTK |
9 August 2017

Prague, Aug 8 (CTK) - Karel Srp, long-time chairman of the opposition Jazz Section under the Communist regime, does not fulfil the conditions to become a member of the Czech Totalitarian Regimes Study Institute (USTR) council, the Senate election commission decided at its public session today.

Srp was nominated by President Milos Zeman and the final decision is yet to be made by the Senate.

Under the law, a member of the USTR council must not have been a member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSC).

Since Srp was a KSC member in 1968, he cannot apply for the post, the commission said.

"The election commission had to state that Zeman's candidate Karel Srp did not fulfil the condition to be eligible," the commission chairman, Ludek Jenista (TOP 09), said.

"In the period between February 1948 [Communist take-over] and February 1990, he was a KSC member," Jenista said, explaining the decision of the commission for which all eight senators present voted.

Srp told Czech Television he did not know the law and that he did not remember whether he was in the KSC.

"I cannot remember whether I was a KSC member 50 years ago, during the Prague Spring reform movement," Srp said.

"But if I was, I am proud of it," he added.

Srp said he did not know the legal conditions for the membership of the USTR board.

He said all former KSM members could not be tarred with the same brush.

Zeman's spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said the commission's position was like the Communist-era vetting of people.

The Senate is to vote on the new member of the USTR council next week.

Jenista said before the election was held, he would inform the Senate about the resolution. It ensues from it that for legal reasons, Srp cannot be elected, he added.

"The election itself should not take place if the Senate takes our resolution into account," Jenista said.

It is also possible that despite the clear position the commission adopted the election will take place, he added.

"I have to state that such an election would not be in harmony with the law and as such it would be invalid," Jenista said.

At the beginning of the year, Zeman tried to have Srp named to the Ethical Commission for Rewarding Members of Anti-communist Fight and Resistance.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) refused to sign the proposal because of Srp's contacts with the Communist secret service StB.

Srp was a founder of the Jazz Section which helped disseminate both legal and banned publications under the Communist regime.

Srp's name appears in the unofficial lists of StB collaborators, called the Cibulka lists.

In December 2000, the Prague Municipal Court decided that Srb was listed as an StB collaborator unrightfully and that the Interior Ministry failed to prove his collaboration.

In 2013, Zeman presented Srp with a Medal of Merit.

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