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Court rejects Zeman’s proposal to abolish civil service law

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Brno, July 9 (CTK) – The Czech Constitutional Court (US) rejected Thursday President Milos Zeman’s proposal for the abolition of the civil service law and it only deleted one sentence from it.

Zeman proposed the deletion of a total of 20 extensive passages of the law that define the discussed position of political deputy ministers, among others.

The court abolished on Zeman’s proposal that part of the law that allows the heads of seven national public administration bodies to oppose the government if it wanted to cut the number of working positions in them, or possibly the costs of the employees’ salaries.

According to the current law wording, the government would need the agreement of every representatives of the seven bodies, which include the anti-trust UOHS office, the Czech Statistical Office and the Energy Regulatory Office.

“The decision-making on the key matters of the functioning of the civil service, such as the number of positions and the volume of means for salaries, cannot be removed by law from the responsibility of the government by making its decision dependent on the agreement of the head of the administrative office,” US deputy chairwoman Milada Tomkova said in justifying the verdict.

She said the government is accountable to the Chamber of Deputies for the due operation of the state administration and now also the civil service, but not to the heads of several national bodies of the state administration.

Not even a law passed by lawmakers can relieve the government of the responsibility, even if the government agreed with it, Tomkova said.

The US decision abolishing a part of the law takes effect at the moment of its promulgation, that is Thursday.

Zeman filed the proposal for the abolition of the law or its parts last November. It has six pages, which makes it relatively brief compared with other complaints.

The Chamber of Deputies originally started to deal with an amendment to the old civil service law of 2002, which never took effect in full. Zeman objected to that an entirely new bill on the civil service replaced the originally debated draft amendment when a comprehensive amendment was presented.

Tomkova said the US identified with Zeman’s opinion that this procedure of approval was incorrect from the constitutional point of view.

She said the lawmakers are bound to observe the rules of the legislative process which the parliament itself set.

However, in spite of this, the US can see no reason to abolish the law. This could be considered if the civil service law were embedded in the constitution or a sub-constitution law, such as the order of procedure of the Chamber of Deputies, which is not the case, Tomkova said.

She said the US also took into account the fact that the law was based on a broad political agreement, that it was broadly discussed and that the opinions of the opposition were considered when it was being passed.

The US rejected Zeman’s other proposals because it did not come to the conclusion that their existence in the law is anti-constitutional.

Tomkova said the US would deal with the issue of political deputy ministers if their existence collided with the constitutional principles, which is not the case now.

The civil service law took effect in January after years of preparation and disputes. It aims to depoliticise the civil service and assure the clerks that senior positions at ministries and other national offices will not be completely altered with the arrival of a new government.

There are some 68,000 civil servants in the Czech Republic of 10.5 million inhabitants.

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