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Const.Court head insists on leaving by end-2017

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Brno, Feb 3 (CTK) – Czech Constitutional Court (US) chairman Pavel Rychetsky, 72, said Wednesday he still plans to leave the post by the end of 2017 at the latest, depending on how quickly the US’s operation will become smooth in its new lineup.

All 15 US members were nominated and appointed by President Milos Zeman in the past three years when the mandates of the previous judges expired.

Last week, daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) indicated that Rychetsky is dissatisfied with the court’s current operation and that he had a different idea of the new US lineup. That is why Rychetsky may stay at the US head even after 2017, the paper writes.

In an interview with Czech Radio on Wednesday, Rychetsky said HN interpreted his position wrongly.

It is not true that he is dissatisfied with the US’s work and lineup. “The opposite is true, I consider it a perfect lineup, a star lineup,” Rychetsky said.

However, he admitted that now and then it takes distinguished personalities [such as new US judges] some time to start working as a team.

A couple of years ago, he accepted the nomination for a second term as a US judge on condition he does not serve the whole ten-year term.

He said Wednesday he wanted to secure the court’s continuity and he still considers the end of 2017 the farthest possible deadline for him to leave. He can even leave sooner for personal or family reasons, and also simply over fatigue.

“Really, I am actually a veteran,” he said.

Some have repeatedly mentioned Rychetsky as a possible candidate for next Czech president.

Rychetsky said his candidacy in the 2018 direct presidential election cannot be completely ruled out, but the reasons why he declined the offer twice in the past are still valid, and some have even got stronger.

Rychetsky said he has been closely watching the situation in Poland where the change in the government is accompanied by a battle for the influence on the Polish constitutional court.

The conflict shows two concerning tendencies – the efforts to change the court’s personnel lineup and set new voting rules, Rychetsky said.

A combination of the two phenomena might paralyse the Polish court’s decision making, he added.

In 1998-2002, Rychetsky was deputy prime minister in the Social Democrat (CSSD) government of Milos Zeman, the incumbent president, who is yet to announce whether he will seek re-election in 2018.

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