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Rejected professor-to-be withdraws complaint against Zeman

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Brno, March 6 (CTK) – The Czech Constitutional Court (US) halted the proceedings dealing with alleged inactivity of President Milos Zeman since National Gallery director Jiri Fajt has withdrawn his complaint, Fajt’s lawyer Miroslav Belina told CTK on Tuesday.

Fajt filed the complaint with the US in November 2017 after lower level courts rejected his protest against Zeman who did not appoint him professor in 2015.

Until then, the president’s role in appointing professors was ceremonial and formal as an academic council is fully responsible for the selection of the candidates. However, Zeman did not sign the appointing decrees of three candidates for professor – Fajt, physicist Ivan Ostadal and political scientist Jan Eichler – three years ago, citing their alleged serious past mistakes as the reasons.

Belina said Fajt withdrew the complaint in February because the US rejected a similar one filed by Ostadal.

On March 23, the Prague Municipal Court is to start dealing with another complaint that Fajt filed against Zeman. However, this complaint may be withdrawn as well, Belina said.

Belina said lawyers wanted to focus on other complaints in which Fajt and Ostadal challenge Zeman’s decision not to appoint them.

Zeman claimed that Ostadal had contacts with the communist secret police StB in the 1980s, Eichler worked in the propaganda unit of the military under the communist regime, and Fajt demanded a bribe when he asked a bank to send a part of its donation to the National Gallery as a contribution to his own salary.

Fajt called Zeman’s arguments untrue and manipulative and Zeman’s behaviour inadmissibly willful.

All the three rejected candidates took the matter to court. The universities that nominated them for professors joined their complaints. Eichler withdrew his complaints before Fajt.

Last November, the US rejected Ostadal’s complaint against Zeman’s inactivity and said Zeman was not inactive. However, the judge rapporteur said Zeman’s decision not to appoint Ostadal may be challenged with an administrative court, but the correct type of complaint needs to be filed.

The Prague Municipal Court is yet to decide on the Ostadal vs Zeman dispute.

The refusal to appoint the three professors is one of several disputes that Zeman has had with representatives of Czech universities. The relations between Zeman and most university rectors have been tense for some time.

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