Prague, Nov 11 (CTK) – Most of the contestants who seek the post of Czech president in the January direct election would have problem assigning a prosecuted person to form a government, unlike the incumbent President Milos Zeman, they have told CTK separately.
Some of the contenders said they would try to talk such a person out of his/her aspiration for the post of prime minister, while others said they would by no means appoint a prosecuted person as prime minister-designate.
Andrej Babis, whose ANO movement comfortably won the October 20-21 general election, faces prosecution over a suspected fraudulent drawing of EU subsidy by his Stork Nest company. The previous Chamber of Deputies released him for prosecution but after the recent elections, the police have to apply for his release anew.
Zeman has repeatedly made it clear that the prosecution faced by Babis cannot discourage him from appointing Babis prime minister. He has already asked Babis to launch negotiations on forming a new government.
Zeman will seek re-election in January.
Out of the other eight candidates for president, who seem to have met all requirements and their bids might be officially registered later this month, only one, musician and The Reasonable party chairman Petr Hannig, shares Zeman’s opinion.
He told CTK that as president, he would entrust the government formation to the election winner regardless of any other circumstances.
Unlike him, former Science Academy chairman Jiri Drahos and doctor and entrepreneur Marek Hilser said if in the presidential post, they would never tap a prosecuted person as prime minister.
As an argument, Drahos cited the Czech Republic’s reputation abroad. Furthermore, a prosecuted man cannot fully focus on his work because he must parallelly deal with his prosecution, Drahos said.
According to Hilser, the president cannot run the risk of a fraudster becoming prime minister. The president must supervise the observance of political culture, he said.
Michal Horacek, a businessman and lyricist, said he would try to persuade a prosecuted man that his party should nominate someone else instead of him. Horacek, too, spoke about the issue endangering the country’s international reputation.
He said if he failed to talk a prosecuted politician out of his ambition, he would finally appoint him prime minister.
Similarly, Defence and Security Industry Association head Jiri Hynek said he would urge the victorious party to nominate another candidate for prime minister, for the sake of the country’s reputation.
Pavel Fischer, former ambassador to France, said he would respect the presumption of innocence, but he would consider how serious the candidate’s suspected offence is.
Former Skoda Auto chief Vratislav Kulhanek, too, said he would assess a concrete case based on detailed information about it. Nevertheless, he would not directly assign a prosecuted person to form a government, he said.
CTK’s question has been left unanswered by Zeman and by the last of his serious rival candidates, former Civic Democrat (ODS) PM Mirek Topolanek. Both excused themselves, citing their busy schedule.
In a recent discussion meeting, Topolanek said that as president, he would be cautious as to whether he should assign Babis to form a government even if Babis’s preceding first government-forming attempt failed. Topolanek said he would grant the second try to someone who would enjoy a majority support in parliament, not including non-system parties.
By non-system parties, he might have meant the Communists (KSCM) and the far-right Freedom and Democracy (SPD).