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May 25, 2019
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Czech lower house rejects controversial candidate for Deputy Public Defender of Rights

14.3.2019 16:07
The Office of the Public Defender of Rights in Brno, Czech Republic. (PHOTO:  Czech Television)
The Office of the Public Defender of Rights in Brno, Czech Republic. (PHOTO: Czech Television)

The Deputy Public Defender of Rights could continue to be former Czech MP Stanislav Křeček (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) or could be replaced by the Dean of the Law Department at Masaryk University in Brno, Markéta Selucká. MPs cast the first round of secret ballots on the issue today in which the attorney Zdeněk Koudelka and the former Czech Constitutional Court Justice and Senator Eliška Wagnerová were removed from competition.

Many institutions and organizations had protested Koudelka's candidacy, saying they believed he does not have sufficient moral credit to serve in the position. He received the fewest votes, 14 of the 175 cast.

Wagnerová was supported by 17 MPs. The final round will of voting will choose between Křeček (who got 26 votes) and Selucká (who got 45), according to the chair of the Electoral Commission in the lower house, MP Martin Kolovratník (Association of Dissatisfied Citizens - ANO).

The second round of voting, according to him, could happen at the end of this month. Selucká, who is 48, is a lawyer who has worked in business, private practice, and for the state administration.

She has also served as an assistant to Constitutional Court justices and would like to draw on those experiences in this role. The Public Defender of Rights and the Deputy Public Defender of Rights are able to appeal to the authorities to change their problematic or unlawful practices on the basis of their own moral credit, to make sure "the state administration is performed humanely and well" as Selucká said during her nomination in the Senate (which also proposed Wagnerová's candidacy).

Current Deputy Public Defender of Rights Křeček, who is 80, was proposed for consideration again by Czech President Miloš Zeman along with Koudelka, and his six-year term in office expires next month. Five years ago, Zeman wanted Křeček to become the Public Defender of Rights.

MPs cast their ballots then in favor of Anna Šabatová, whose term as Public Defender of Rights will end in February of next year. Křeček has long taken an interest in the legal position of tenants and once chaired the Tenants' Association of the Czech Republic.

Just like Koudelka, Křeček was a ČSSD member for many years. He left the party in 2013 after being elected Deputy Public Defender of Rights.

In 1998 it was documented that Křeček had, for many years, used the title "JUDr." without authorization. He later successfully completed his examinations and was awarded the title.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Lidská práva, Ombudsman, Poslanecká sněmovna, prezident



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