Opposition bid to remove Czech president fails
After a debate that took up most of the day, the constitutional complaint against President Miloš Zeman did not pass through the Chamber of Deputies on Thursday, receiving only 58 votes and therefore missing the required mark of 120 by a wide margin. MPs from the Pirate party, the Civic Democrats, TOP09 and the Christian Democrats voted in favour of the motion, while the ANO party, the Social Democrats, the Communist Party and the Freedom and Direct Democracy party either voted against the complaint or abstained.
The complaint sought to bring the matter to the Constitutional Court which, after examining the case, could rule that the president acted in “blunt breach of the Constitution”. It narrowly passed through the Senate in July, but was not expected to pass through the lower house due to the fact that the ruling coalition together with the Communist Party and the Freedom and Direct Democracy party stated that they would not support it.
The vote was preceded by long discussions, which included heated exchanges between the representatives of the opposition parties in favour of the complaint and those supporting the president. Senator Václav Láska, who authored the complaint, said that President Miloš Zeman is intent on making the government responsible to him rather than the Chamber of Deputies and that this was the central motive that connected all of the points raised against his behaviour in the complaint.
The chairman of the ANO party's deputies' club, Jaroslav Faltýnek, accused Mr. Láska of holding hateful feelings towards the president, while Social Democrat deputy, Kateřina Valachová, said that the complaint contained too many points and would have had a greater chance if it focused purely on the president's actions regarding the appointment of ministers.
President Zeman says he did not violate the constitution.