MP Benda on state of emergency: Extending for just 30 days is such a strange mantra iROZHLAS

Providing accommodation for refugees from Ukraine, their redistribution between regions or purchases from material reserves. Despite everything, the government justifies the need to extend the state of emergency until May 31. MEPs will vote on Tuesday. “I think the ministers will try to explain this to the opposition, in particular to the YES movement,” MP Marek Benda (ODS) said in an interview with Radiožurnál.




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Marek Benda | Photo: René Volfik Source: iROZHLAS.cz

The crucial question is: why does the coalition want to extend the state of emergency for almost two months? Previous practice was for the government to ask the Chamber of Deputies to accept a state of emergency for 30 days at a time. Why should it be any different now?
So first: there is almost no prior practice. We only had a state of emergency during the last election period, in relation to the coronavirus. Moreover, it was a situation where it was clear that there was never a majority in the House that would approve the government’s blank check to restrict citizens to more than 30 days.


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Today we are in a completely different situation. At the outset, the government made it clear that under no circumstances would the state of emergency affect our fellow citizens, which is its negative connotation. I think that’s clear. No measure is intended to restrict our fellow citizens.

The government originally expected to ask the House for a three-month extension, that is, at the beginning of July. After criticizing the opposition, which I heard and reported to the government, the latter decided to extend it until the end of May. I think extending 30 days is a weird mantra that has developed here, but it’s definitely not a requirement.

It kind of sounds like you don’t want to deal with objections from the opposition. Do you want to convince the opposition parties of the merits of this approach, or simply because you have a majority in the Chamber, you will not convince them at all?
I think there will certainly be a normal debate today. I made sure to include it on a day when all the key ministers could be here.

I think the ministers will try to explain this to the opposition, especially to the YES movement, because the SPD is already declaring that there will be no state of emergency. But he talks about the fight against the coronavirus, because that’s how people remember it. It’s a bit absurd.

Today we face a completely different crisis – the war unleashed (by Russian President) Vladimir Putin against Ukraine and its consequences.

“I think the ministers will try to explain it to the opposition, especially to the YES movement, because the SPD is already saying that there will be no state of emergency. But it is talking about the fight against the coronavirus, because that’s how people remember it. It’s a bit absurd. Today we are dealing with a completely different crisis.”


Marek Benda (ODS member)

We will certainly talk to the opposition. At the same time, I must say that there are sentences (Ms OUI Alena) Schiller that scare me. If he is already talking about security today, I don’t know if in this country, now I am not talking about the situation beyond our eastern borders, there are security incidents related to the refugee crisis.

And that is exactly the trend that (former Prime Minister and YES President) Andrej Babiš started. If other people in the YES movement want to repeat it, it really scares me a bit.

Criticism of Constitutionalists

It may be a matter of procedure. According to constitutionalist Jan Kysela, the cabinet should nevertheless repeatedly ask for an extension of up to 30 days in order to preserve the very controlling role of the Chamber of Deputies. And another constitutionalist, Ondřej Preuss, does not see an unconstitutional procedure in such a procedure, but he also talks about weakening the controlling role of deputies. Isn’t there something you say about such accusations? Why don’t you do this monthly recurrence?
First, MPs can lift the state of emergency on their own initiative at any time. This is the thing that can happen. If we felt that the situation was really calming down…

Agreed, but the distribution of power in the House is not entirely up to scratch.
It is always the majority in the House, the majority must always decide. This has been the case for two years. Even the government (Andrej Babis, editor’s note) it did not have a majority, it always bought and convinced the Communists.

It sounds a bit like you’re giving it back to the former government. The coalition has a comfortable majority in the House, so can we expect the extension of the state of emergency to pass? If for some reason that didn’t happen, do you have a compromise in store that the opposition would accept?
The government’s proposal was a compromise. The government first signaled that it would be three months. After hearing the opposition, she said it would be by the end of May. This seems to me a very fair solution on the part of the government. And the constitutionalists’ reservations seem very artificial to me. I have spoken to many of them who are thinking about it. Of course, we’ll set a precedent, but why should it be exactly 30 days?

Jiří Chum, Kateřina Součková, vtk

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