The Speaker of the House and the Speaker of the Senate declined to attend the presentation of state awards by the President. They are embarrassed by Zeman’s inclination towards Russia. But not only.
Hostem I ask Markéta Pekarová Adamová, President of the Chamber of Deputies.
František Chábera, singer Karel Gott, actress Jiřina Bohdalová or General Heliodor Píka. These are just a few of the celebrities the current president honored on Monday night. There were 66 in total, and the decision to decorate current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenský drew attention. As Milos Zeman explained in his speech, he wants to appreciate the courage and bravery of the Ukrainian leader who, despite the danger, remains besieged in kyiv by the Russian army.
However, the ceremony sparked controversy before it began. After Russia invaded Ukraine, some figures criticized Milos Zeman for his long-term pro-Russian positions. A group of dissidents, including for example Anna Shabbat or Petr Pithart, have even called on the current head of state to abdicate. And some politicians decided not to participate in Monday’s ceremony – for example, Senate Speaker Miloš Vystrčil or Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Markéta Pekarová Adamová.
In addition, a recent statement by President Miloš Zeman’s lawyer Marek Nespala, who announced on the show I demand that the President plans to file a criminal complaint for suspicion of sabotage against those who spoke about the removal of presidential powers under Section 66 of the Constitution, raised issues of constitutional relations.
What are the main reasons why politicians boycotted the award ceremony? And is the president’s turn towards Russia credible enough? And what does Pekarová say about the pursuit of TOP 09 exponent Dominik Feri?
You can start the whole conversation in the intro video, audio, or in your favorite podcast app.
What was said in the interview?
1:00 – I considered attending the castle ceremony with Senate President Miloš Vystrčil. I don’t regret it, I support it. Together with the President of the Senate, we sent a letter to the President explaining why we had not attended the ceremony. The president doesn’t have a traditional meeting to coordinate top constitutional officials, or he doesn’t want to invite me or Mr. Vystrčil to that format. But we assured him that we were ready for such encounters.
2:00 – I don’t see it as revenge. (…) We cannot ignore the fact that the president has held pro-Russian positions for many years. He helped Putin’s Russia in the Czech Republic and around the world. The regime could count on its support in the media as having support in the West. But we will congratulate the winners in writing, individually.
3:00 – Personally, I would not see the need to honor Mr Remek, who is one of the supporters of the old regime. But I would not like to get involved, we also offer the price. We may have different opinions on this, but most of these people deserved the state.
4:30 – Many people in the past refused to accept the award. But it is not given by the president himself, it is a kind of mediator. It honors the whole Czech Republic, the whole society, but I understand those who decide not to accept the award from the hands of the current head of state.
5:00 – Although there was a reversal of the president after the outbreak of war in Ukraine. But when he took that turn, what might erase many years of Putin’s fondness for Russia may not undermine the EU’s stance on Crimean sanctions, for example. These statements were clearly in favor of annexation, when the president argued that sanctions should not be imposed at all. It’s been a series of steps over the years. If the President thought so, he would get rid of his colleague, Mr Nejedlý. A man who is directly linked to the Russian leadership and whose ties have long been problematic.
8:00 a.m. – The president is the one who chooses his close collaborators. It’s his business card.
9:00 am – Are people without security checks in the president’s quarters a threat to the security of the Czech Republic in the current situation? What matters is what the security forces think. The BRI calls this a security risk. This is not new, but the weight of the threat at a time of Russian aggression in Ukraine is increasing. (…) Security risks can arise and cannot be underestimated.
11:00 – This is one of the things we have to deal with. But now a number of crucial things are happening here that affect thousands of newcomers from Ukraine. It is now on the agenda.
12:00 – President Zelensky is showing extraordinary courage and determination. He is a hero especially for Ukrainians and such a person deserves our support, and such a reward. Although he probably doesn’t care about such things now. At the moment, I see it as such a gesture, but the award should go to him. But it’s bittersweet. Someone who proudly fights with Putin should receive an award from someone who has supported him for many years.
2:30 p.m. – We shouldn’t have short memories. I would love for the president to have a complete U-turn, but it would need to be accompanied by a number of other acts, I can’t see it yet.
15:30 – It is important to be consistent in attitudes. I said them when I was elected.
4:00 p.m. – The President’s attorney, Me Nespala, has announced on your agenda that he is taking active steps to prosecute senators for sabotage. And it is necessary for the lower house to express the support of the upper house that it has taken measures fully in accordance with the public interest, such as those which were necessary. I also see this act as an attack on parliamentarism.
6:00 p.m. – What about today’s report which police accuse former TOP 09 MP Dominik Feri of raping him? By the time his case emerged, Dominik Feri had decided to resign from public office. His membership also ended. I have full confidence in the police and the courts that the matter will be investigated objectively. I’m glad the case is moving forward so the victims are clear. He is now a natural person who has his approach at his civic level.
20:00 – When the allegations arose, we acted decisively. We have honored the presumption of political guilt, it is appropriate. It was an hour on our feet. But as for any citizen, it must be kept in mind that the presumption of innocence applies. In this respect, it is already his civil affair. It is true that if I had indications that something like this was happening, I would act. But I really didn’t know anything like that.
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