Prague, Oct 25 (CTK) – Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka will take part in the celebration of the Czech national holiday at Prague Castle on October 28 and his Social Democrats (CSSD) will not boycott it due to the Brady affair, unlike some other parties, he told CTK yesterday.
“Most of our ministers, lower house deputies and senators will attend the ceremonial presentation of state decorations at Prague Castle, same as every year. I plan to be there as well,” Sobotka said in a written statement.
President Milos Zeman allegedly deleted Holocaust survivor Jiri Brady, 88, from the list of the decorated personalities for political reasons a few days ago. Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) claims that Zeman told him he would not decorate Brady, Herman’s relative, if Herman met the Tibetan Dalai Lama. The Presidential Office dismissed the allegation. Zeman strongly promotes closer trade cooperation with China, which he repeatedly visited and praised.
Herman and the Dalai Lama had a meeting in Prague last week. Brady will not receive a state decoration.
Due to the Brady affair, the lawmakers of the junior ruling KDU-CSL and the right-wing opposition Civic Democrats (ODS) and TOP 09 will not attend the October 28 ceremony.
On the contrary, the senior opposition Communists (KSCM) recommended that its politicians not take part in meetings that are an alternative to the celebration organised by the Presidential Office. In protest against Zeman’s suspected bargaining with the state decoration, public gatherings will be organised on October 28.
The ANO movement of Finance Minister Andrej Babis recommended that its lawmakers attend the official ceremony.
The Social Democrats said its politicians would decide on their own whether to participate in it. Labour and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksova and Minister for Human Rights Jiri Dienstbier announced that they would not arrive.
Sobotka said earlier yesterday that he would give a commemorative medal to Brady. He said he considers it unfortunate that Brady would not receive a state decoration at Prague Castle. He said the celebration of national holidays and pride of such people like Brady should unite society.
Brady and his wife Tereza say an official of the Presidential Office told them Brady will be decorated, while the office denies it.
Many Czech rectors will not attend the October 28 ceremony due to their long-term dispute with Zeman. Czech Academy of Sciences President Jiri Drahos said he would not come either, for reasons related to the absence of the rectors.
Zeman was also criticised for decorating people who supported his presidential campaign.