Czech opposition lawmakers fail in bid to remove president

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Czech opposition lawmakers have failed in a bid to remove President Milos Zeman from office, after he was accused by the senate or upper house of parliament of abusing the country's constitution on multiple occasions. The opposition sought to use a 2013 amendment allowing the Constitutional Court to remove a head of state if after examining a case it finds a 'blunt breach of the Constitution'. Zeman has said he has not abused the constitution.

Reuters September 27, 2019 01:11:52 IST
Czech opposition lawmakers fail in bid to remove president

Czech opposition lawmakers fail in bid to remove president

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Czech opposition lawmakers have failed in a bid to remove President Milos Zeman from office, after he was accused by the senate or upper house of parliament of abusing the country's constitution on multiple occasions.

The opposition sought to use a 2013 amendment allowing the Constitutional Court to remove a head of state if after examining a case it finds a "blunt breach of the Constitution".

Zeman has said he has not abused the constitution.

In the Czech Republic, the president holds a ceremonial office, whereas executive power lies with the government. However the president officially appoints ministers put forward by the prime minister and has the power to order or prevent state attorneys from launching investigations.

Opponents accuse Zeman of stretching the limits of his office, interfering in the government's personnel and in judicial affairs.

The Senate-backed motion to have the court consider Zeman's position was defeated in the lower house after the ruling ANO and Social Democrat parties, along with the Communists, who prop up Prime Minister Andrej Babis's minority government, and the far-right SPD party rejected it.

"The president acts in accordance with the constitution. The so-called complaint of the Senate is a mere political attack and a legal manoeuvre," the president's spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said.

Senator Vaclav Laska, one of those behind the proposal said, "the president is trying to reach a state where the government will not be controlled by this chamber, but it will completely depend on the president's will."

"The powers usurped by the president are your powers," he told lawmakers.

Laska and other senators who completed the bill in April were prompted by what they said were attempts by the president to influence court cases.

Zeman's rejection of some ministerial nominees also stirred anger. A few months ago he refused to appoint a new culture minister nominated by the Social Democrats - his former party, which he broke with more than a decade ago.

Zeman's office said he did not immediately need to make the appointment. After several months, the Social Democrats put forward a new name.

Recently, Zeman said he would use his constitutional power to stop any renewal of a criminal case against Prime Minister Andrej Babis, a billionaire businessman before he entered politics and who is the country's second richest man.

Prague's state attorney this month halted an investigation into allegations Babis had hidden his ownership of a convention centre over a decade ago to get European Union subsidies meant for small businesses.

Babis has denied wrongdoing. The supreme attorney may still override the decision to halt the case. Zeman said last week that should that happen, he would use his legal power to halt the case for good, drawing fierce criticism.

(Reporting by Robert Muller; Editing by Jason Hovet and Alexandra Hudson)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.