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MPs take oath at Chamber of Deputies’ constituent session

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Prague, Nov 20 (CTK) – The Czech Chamber of Deputies resumed its operation after the October 20-21 general election at its constituent session on Monday, opened by the national anthem and a ceremony of MPs taking their oaths of deputies.

The first to take his oath was Jan Hamacek (Social Democrats, CSSD), who chaired the Chamber in the previous election term and who convoked the constituent session a couple of weeks ago.

Vojtech Filip (Communists, KSCM), the oldest of the Chamber’s former deputy chairpersons re-elected in October, was the second to take his oath.

Afterwards, Filip asked all deputies to take their oath one after another in alphabetical order.

It ensued from the following debate that the Chamber of Deputies will choose its chairperson on Wednesday, as expected, while the election of deputy chairpersons might take place on Friday, not on Thursday as originally expected.

Parties had time until 5 pm on Monday to submit their nominations for the lower house chairperson. The deadline for them to nominate candidates for deputy chairpersons will be set on Wednesday only.

The law sets a 24-hour period between the nominations and the Chamber’s vote on them. This is also why the Chamber will not meet on Tuesday.

ANO’s Radek Vondracek will probably be the only candidate running for the house’s chairman. He enjoys sufficient support from the deputies for ANO, the Pirates, the SPD movement and the Communists (KSCM).

Vondracek has said he would propose that the Chamber has five deputy chairpersons, one more than the previous Chamber. The seats of deputy chairpersons might therefore go to candidates nominated by the Civic Democrats (ODS), the Pirates, the SPD, the KSCM and the Social Democrats (CSSD).

The only deputy to have excused himself from the session on Monday was Jiri Dolejs (KSCM), who was attending the Brazilian communist party’s congress.

Out of the outgoing ministers, Industry and Trade Minister Jiri Havlicek (CSSD) excused himself from the session due to a foreign trip, as did Finance Minister Ivan Pilny (ANO), and also Education Minister Stanislav Stech (CSSD) who cited work reasons.

Several dozens of secondary school students turned up to watch the session opening.

Outside the Chamber of Deputies’ building, a lonely demonstrator appeared with a banner calling on deputies to intervene against unspecified wilfulness of the police and state attorneys.

The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament, has 200 seats. Based on the election results, 78 seats are now occupied by the ANO movement, with the Civic Democrats (ODS) having 25 seats, the Pirates and the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) 22 each, the KSCM and the CSSD 15 each, the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) 10, TOP 09 seven and the Mayors and Independents (STAN) six seats.

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