Doksy, North Bohemia, May 11 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman will ask the Constitutional Court (US) whether the president is bound to dismiss a minister under all circumstances if this is proposed by the prime minister, he said today, adding that he is ready to respect the court decision.
In recent days, Zeman has shown reluctance to sack Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO), though PM Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) proposed him to do so on Friday, citing Babis’s suspected tax evasion and influencing independent media.
Speaking to journalists at the close of his three-day visit to the Liberec Region, Zeman did not answer the question of whether he will not sack Babis before the US decides on the issue.
Sobotka, too, wants to turn to the US. Earlier this week, he said he would lodge a competence lawsuit with the US if Zeman failed to dismiss Babis after his return from a visit to China on May 18.
“I will not call it a competence lawsuit but a request for the US to interpret the constitution and say whether the dismissal of a minister is obligatory and the president has to comply with the relevant proposal,” Zeman said.
US spokeswoman Miroslava Sedlackova said the US has only received information about the Zeman-Sobotka controversy from the media. She said it is impossible to anticipate how quickly the US may decide on Zeman’s request until it is clear what kind of request or proposal it will be.
Zeman repeated that he considers the coalition agreement between the government parties an obstacle to sacking Babis.
He said the three government parties, the CSSD, ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), have to observe the agreement, which is why the prime minister cannot propose the dismissal of an ANO minister without the consent of the ANO chairman, i.e. Babis.
Another obstacle is that Sobotka should have proposed Babis’s replacement together with the proposal for his dismissal, Zeman said.
It would be irresponsible towards the country’s financial stability to leave the Finance Ministry without its head now that the 2018 budget bill is starting to be drafted, he said.
Zeman said he wants to discuss possible ways out of the government crisis with the government parties’ leaders again after his return from China.
Thousands of people demonstrated for the sacking of Babis in towns across the country. Some demonstrators also called for Zeman’s resignation as president.
Zeman said today he definitely will not step down. He said he experienced numerous demonstrations aimed against him, but all protests have faded away in the meantime.
“In the same way, the current demonstrations will no longer be topical in a month or two,” he said.