Lawmakers to discuss legislation to curb presidential powers
Czech lawmakers are due to begin debating a government draft bill proposing to curb the powers of the country’s head-of-state. Many argue the need to redefine the president’s role became an issue after the country opted for direct presidential elections, which gave the new head-of-state arguably more leverage in influencing key decision-making. Politicians both in government and in the opposition would like to see that changed.
Cases in point? His handpicking a previous interim government, pushing through preferred candidates for ambassadorial posts, and taking the longest time on record in naming the current government of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. The different parties in Parliament have varying priorities, but there is general agreement that more emphasis should be made on the system in place. Social Democrat Jeroným Tejc:
“The Parliamentary system of governance should be untouched.”
Concretely, parties will discuss a whole array of issues, including the naming of judges, the naming of candidates to the central bank, outlining a period by which, following coalition agreements, new governments should be named, limiting the carrying over of mandates by MPs in the lower house as well as issues President Miloš Zeman himself has raised: the naming of university professors, declaring amnesties or granting pardons.
“It is illogical for a head-of-state, who is elected directly by the public in free elections, to have weaker powers than a president elected by Parliament.”
According to Czech TV, MPs in the lower house will try to hammer out a consensus by March.