Prague, Aug 16 (CTK) – President Milos Zeman’s nominee Karel Srp will not join the Council of the Czech Institute of the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (USTR), because the Senate said on Wednesday as a former Communist, he does not meet the condition of reliability and it refrained from voting on his nomination.
Srp, 80, the long-standing head of the Jazz Section organisation, did not attend the debate in the upper house.
The Senate took note of the position of its election commission, which previously found out that Srp was a communist party member before the 1989 fall of the communist regime.
The commission chairman Ludek Janista cited Srp’s declaration that he was “a member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSC) in 1968.”
As a result, the commission could not but state that Srp fails to meet the condition of reliability and cannot be elected an USTR councillor.
In spite of the above declaration of honour, Srp said a week ago that he does not remember having been a KSC member.
“I don’t remember whether I was a KSC member during the Prague Spring 50 years ago. Nevertheless, if I was, I am proud of it,” he told Czech Television, alluding to the then communist reform movement stifled by the Warsaw Pact’s invasion in August 1968.
Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek recently labelled the Senate’s approach as the return to totalitarian personnel policy.
Srp was the second candidate Zeman nominated to the USTR Council this year. The previous nominee, Lenka Prochazkova, met all requirements, but the Senate did not elect her.
Earlier this year, Zeman failed to push through Srp to the Ethical commission for awarding participants in the anti-communist resistance movement, after Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) refused to countersign the nomination due to Srp’s former contacts with the communist secret police StB.
Founded by Srp during the communist era, the Jazz Section assisted in issuing books, including banned ones.
Srp’s name, however, figures in the unofficial “Cibulka list” of StB collaborators. In 2000, a Prague court decided that the StB registered Srp as its collaborator unrightfully and that the Interior Ministry failed to prove any such collaboration on his part.
In 2013, President Zeman bestowed a state award, Medal of Merit, on Srp.