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Awards as instruments of pressure unacceptable, officials say

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Prague, Oct 22 (CTK) – State decorations must be treated with dignity, Czech Senate chairman Milan Stech wrote to CTK Saturday and Jan Hamcek, Chamber of Deputies head, said the possible deletion of Jiri Brady from the list of personalities to be awarded must be explained.
Stech and Hamacek (both Social Democratic Party, CSSD) reacted to the information that President Milos Zeman deleted Holocaust survivor Brady, uncle of Culture Minister Daniel Herman from the list of people to be decorated because Herman met the Dalai Lama in Prague earlier this week.
Stech wrote that unless the matter is explained and decently resolved, he will have to react adequately.
Hamacek wrote that “using the bestowing or not bestowing of awards as an instrument of pressure is entirely unacceptable,” Hamacek told CTK.
Most lawmakers of the opposition rightist Civic Democratic Party (ODS) will not attend the ceremony to mark the October 28 national holiday at Prague Castle, ODS chairman Petr Fiala told CTK Saturday.
In contrast, Miroslav Kalousek, chairman of the other rightist opposition party TOP 09, said he will go the ceremony because the holiday is not Zeman’s, but of all people and that public officials should celebrate it.
All 11 members of the newly established group of senators of the Mayors and Independents (SATAN) also announced they will not come to Prague Castle.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) head, Pavel Belobradek, said he “has not yet cancelled” his participation.
October 28 is the day when the establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918 is commemorated.
Herman said on Friday that Zeman personally called on him to cancel his planned meeting with the Tibetan Dalai Lama, or else he will not decorate his uncle Brady.
Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcaek denied this information on Czech Radio.
Some KDU-CSL politicians, including Herman and Agriculture Minister Marian Jurecka, will attend an alternative event on the Old Town Square which is organised by Chamber of Deputies deputy head Petr Gazdik (Mayors and Independents, STAN).

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