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March 21, 2018
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Czech lower house to hold extraordinary session on proposal to dismiss vice-chair for doubting Holocaust of Roma

5.3.2018 20:23
Jan Bartošek (PHOTO: Czech Television)
Jan Bartošek (PHOTO: Czech Television)

Czech MPs will convene on Wednesday for an extraordinary session on a proposal to dismiss Czech MP Tomio Okamura ("Freedom and Direct Democracy" - SPD) from his post as vice-chair of the Chamber of Deputies. Czech MP Jan Bartošek, head of the Christian Democratic faction in the lower house, announced the news at a press conference on Friday.

Bartošek has collected the signatures necessary to filing a request for an extraordinary session and the chair of the Chamber of Deputies has accepted it. The issue of whether to dismiss Okamura is meant to be a response to remarks made by members of his SPD movement about the WWII-era concentration camp in Lety. 

"It is not possible to pass over in silence the remarks about the concentration camp at Lety, such as those alleging that it was a 'non-existent pseudo-concentration
camp', it is impossible to pass over in silence the assertion that the camp at Lety had no fence," Bartošek said, recalling the claims made by the SPD members about
the camp where several hundred people died. "It is important that MPs have an opportunity to answer the question of whether they want a person who represents a party with such opinions to represent the Czech Republic in a high constitutional office."

Bartošek has collected more than the 40 signatures necessary from his colleagues to request the convening of an extraordinary session.  "The chair of the Chamber of Deputies accepted [the request] and decided to convene it for this Wednesday at 14:30," he said.

If the lower house does not approve the agenda for the extraordinary session, however, it may not go ahead, but room would be created for debate of the issue, albeit a limited debate. Bartošek admitted to the press that the risk does exist that the agenda for the session could not be approved. 

"I initiated this extraordinary session precisely so that it will not be possible to pass by those remarks in silence," he said. "If the program is approved, then it will be voted on, but either way it is absolutely essential that this point be discussed on the floor of the lower house." 

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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