Social Democrats call on prime minister to apologize for statement regarding direct elections

The Social Democrats have called on Prime Minister Petr Nečas to give them an official apology for his claim that the party, which has a majority in the Czech Senate, would be trying to block a legislative change that paves the way for direct presidential elections. The head of the Social Democrats, Bohuslav Sobotka, announced at a news conference on Thursday that what the prime minister had said was not fair towards the party and the country’s citizens. The Social Democrats were long-time supporters of direct presidential elections, he added.

On Wednesday, the Czech Senate had approved an amendment to the country's constitution introducing direct presidential elections. A total of 49 out of 81 Senators voted in favor of the new legislation. Once signed into law by President Václav Klaus, the bill will allow Czechs to elect their president directly for the first time next year when Mr Klaus's second term expires. Among those who said that they would consider running for president are Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, former prime minister Jan Fischer and economist Jan Švejnar.

Author: Sarah Borufka