Štěch: most Social Democrat senators to back direct presidential elections

Most Social Democrat senators will support a bill paving the way for direct presidential elections, Senate chairman Milan Štěch said after a traditional New Year´s lunch he had with President Václav Klaus and Chamber of Deputies head Miroslava Němcová on Tuesday. Mrs Němcová, however, said it was no secret members of her party – the right-of-centre Civic Democrats – were divided over the issue. In her view, the current system, which brings together both houses of Parliament to elect the head-of-state, had produced two successful presidents, referring to Václav Havel, who died last month, and Mr Klaus, who will complete his final term in office in early 2013. Mr Štech said he believed the constitutional bill will be passed by the Senate if a majority of senators from other groups supported it as well; his party holds a majority in the Senate. The bill has already been passed by the Chamber of Deputies but has come under fire from the current president, who has charged it would turn the election process into the into a ‘Pop Idol’ contest. Most ordinary Czechs, though, are in favour of direct presidential elections.

Author: Jan Velinger