Senate committee declares President Miloš Zeman unfit for office

Miloš Zeman

The Security and Defense Committee of the Czech Senate has declared President Miloš Zeman unfit for office and has proposed that he be stripped of the post. It claims that the Czech head of state is often disoriented, incapable of distinguishing between classified and public information and jeopardizes the country’s security by his words and actions.  

The head of the Czech Senate’s Committee for Security and Defense Pavel Fischer announced on Wednesday that the committee had been tasked by political groupings in the Senate to analyze President Miloš Zeman’s performance in office within its controlling role in the parliamentary system of “checks and balances”. He said the result of this effort was a 45-page analysis based on Mr. Zeman’s more recent statements, which led the committee to conclude that he was unfit for office.

“Miloš Zeman is incapable of executing the responsibilities of his office, he is at times disoriented, fails to coordinate his actions with the government, undermines the country’s security and defense forces in performing their duties and generally acts in a way that is at odds with the oath of office that he took.”

Senator Fischer said that Miloš Zeman’s recent comments on the 2014 Vrbětice blasts –in which he cast doubt on the investigation led by his own country’s intelligence services and blatantly contradicted claims by the country’s prime minister and interior minister- are the culmination of progressive statements and activities jeopardizing the country’s security.

Pavel Fischer | Photo: Ondřej Tomšů,  Radio Prague International

He said he had acquainted the Speaker of the Senate Miloš Vystrčil with the outcome of the analysis and expected that the upper chamber would meet to debate the proposal to strip Miloš Zeman of his post next week.

Zeman’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček immediately lashed back on Twitter, describing the move as a devious attack on the president by an organized group of senators, an attack on “the constitutional order, freedom and democracy” and “a state coup in the making”. He said law enforcement bodies should start to act immediately saying the actions of this organized group of senators arouses serious suspicions of a crime that can be classified as “subversion of the republic”.

The Constitution of the Czech Republic states that if the president cannot execute the post for serious reasons and if the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate agree that that is indeed the case, the president’s powers are transferred to the prime minister and the two houses of Parliament.

Originally, the senators critical of the president’s performance, wanted to file a constitutional complaint against the head of state over his comments on the Vrbětice blasts. According to this was discussed in late May, but as Senator Václav Láska told the news site, the chances of winning support for such a complaint in the Chamber of Deputies, where it would require 120 votes are practically nil. A similar proposal made in 2019 was turned down by parties supporting Miloš Zeman.