Monday, 23 October 2017

Zeman not to attend oath-taking ceremony on national holiday

ČTK |
6 October 2017

Prague, Oct 5 (CTK) - President Milos Zeman will not attend the oath-taking ceremony for new career soldiers on the Czech national holiday on October 28 which will be moved from Prague to Moravia, the server Aktualne.cz said on Thursday.

Zeman took part in the ceremony in the past four years.

The Defence Ministry said Moravian regions had asked for the change.

However, referring to unnamed army sources, the server said the Presidential Office had asked for it due to Zeman's busy schedule.

The recruits are sworn in at Prague Castle, the seat of Czech heads of state. This has been a usual part of the celebrations of the national holiday, marking the establishment of Czechoslovakia in 1918.

This year, the ceremony will be held in Vyskov and Brno, south Moravia, where there are military academies.

"Based on demands from regions, including a letter from the mayor of Vyskov, the October solemn military oath will be held in the places in which academy students are prepared for their work in the military this year," Defence Ministry spokesman Jan Pejsek told Aktualne.cz.

However, in 2018, the oath-taking ceremony will be held again in Prague.

"The Presidential Office has asked that one of the events should not be held there because on the day, Zeman's schedule is extremely busy," the server quotes one of the senior military officials.

"His closest assistants want him to have a relief for a moment," the server said.

A commemorative act at the National Memorial in Prague-Vitkov and promotion of new generals will be held within the celebrations.

Zeman's spokesman Jiri Ovcacek did not answer the question of why the place of the ceremony was changed, the server said.

"We are very glad that the celebrations of the national holiday will not be affected by Prago-centrism and will also be held in Moravia," Ovcacek only said.

In May already, Zeman did not attend the commemorative act on Victory Day.

Ovcacek said Zeman had concentrated himself on the appointment of new generals that was held six hours later.

The oath-taking ceremony in Prague on October 28 was regularly attended by former presidents Vaclav Klaus and Vaclav Havel.

Havel was absent from it in 2001 and 2002, citing health reasons.

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