Thursday, 18 April 2019

Zeman's inauguration to take one hour, include 21-gun salute

ČTK |
28 February 2018

Prague, Feb 27 (CTK) - Milos Zeman will take and sign his second presidential oath at Prague Castle on March 8 at a table once used by the first Czechoslovak president Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, the Presidential Office protocol section head Vladimir Krulis told CTK on Tuesday.

He said the inauguration will take place at a ceremonial joint session of the two houses of parliament starting in the Vladislav Hall at 14:00. About 700 guests, including deputies, senators, diplomats and other personalities have been invited to it.

The event will be transmitted on a big screen in the nearby Hradcanske Square.

After the ceremony, Zeman and his wife will leave for the St Vitus Cathedral, elsewhere at Prague Castle, to pay homage to the remains of St Wenceslas, a medieval prince and saint patron of Bohemia.

Zeman was re-elected president on January 27, beating former Science Academy chairman Jiri Drahos in the runoff vote.

The presidential inauguration will be the only point on the ceremonial session's agenda.

For the first time, Zeman will sign his oath at a table designed, like many pieces of furniture and architectural elements at Prague Castle, by Slovenian architect Josip Plecnik. The table was used by Masaryk, the Czechoslovak president from 1918 to 1935. For the inauguration, it will be brought to the Vladislav Hall from the castle library.

Like in the past, the national anthem will be played at the close of the inauguration, and a 21-gun salute will follow, involving cannons to be temporarily installed on the Petrin Hill for this purpose.

Zeman is to give a speech.

In contrast with his previous first inauguration in 2013, when he had a lunch with constitutional officials, this time he will have a glass of wine with them in Prague Castle's Spanish Hall.

Zeman's fans may greet him when crossing a courtyard on his way from the Vladislav Hall to the St Vitus Cathedral, when the cathedral's bells will be ringing.

"This year, we have decided to enable more citizens to meet the president at the third courtyard," Krulis said.

Before the inauguration, Czech historical flags will be carried to the Vladislav Hall, accompanied by a Hussite choral chant.

The Czech Constitution from 1993 will be on display, as will the Czechoslovak Constitutional chart from 1920 and the original flag of T.G. Masaryk with a big coat of arms of Czechoslovakia comprised of the historical emblems of Bohemia, Slovakia, Sub-Carpathian Rus, Moravia and Silesia and the Tesin, Opava and Ratibor regions.

Also on display will be the two top state decorations, the Order of the White Lion and the Order of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, of which every president becomes a holder during their presidential mandate, Krulis said.

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