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May 19, 2022



Czech President and Senate may both nominate former Human Rights Commissioner for Deputy Ombudswoman

2.10.2019 11:02
Monika Šimůnková (PHOTO:  Czech News Agency)
Monika Šimůnková (PHOTO: Czech News Agency)

Czech President Miloš Zeman has nominated two candidates for the lower house to choose from for the Deputy Ombudswoman post: Lenka Marečková and Monika Šimůnková. The Czech News Agency asked the chair of the commission on elections by the Czech Chamber of Deputies, Martin Kolovratník (Association of Dissatisfied Citizens - ANO) for the names of the nominees.

The Czech Senate is also likely to propose Šimůnková for the post. The next vote to choose the Deputy Ombudswoman will be held during the next session of the lower house, which will begin in mid-October, Kolovratník said.

The vote will be a third attempt to appoint a successor to the current holder of that post; the previous attempts in the spring and summer failed because MPs did not choose any of the nominees. The chair of the commission on elections by the Czech Senate, Jaroslav Větrovský (for ANO) told the Czech News Agency on 1 October that Šimůnková is the only candidate to have been submitted to the Senate commission.

The head of the Christian Democratic group in the Senate, Petr Šilar, submitted her for consideration, according to Větrovský. The Senate commission is currently vetting her and will decide on her nomination at its own session later this month.

As for the President's other nominee, Marečková, she is a Charter 77 signatory with experience working in the state administration - for example, for the Education Ministry, the Justice Ministry, and in the office of the late President Václav Havel. She is currently the head Human Rights Protections Inspector at the Defense Ministry.

From the mid-1980s on, Marečková was a member of many independent initiatives in formerly-socialist Czechoslovakia, such as the Committee for the Defense of the Unjustly Prosecuted (Výbor na obranu nespravedlivě stíhaných). As for Šimůnková, she was Human Rights Commissioner during the Nečas administration and also directed the Human Rights Section at the Office of the Government.

Šimůnková has also worked for the "Our Child" Foundation (Nadace Naše dítě) and the Czech Helsinki Committee (Český helsinský výbor). Currently she is a member of the Subcommittee on the Rights of the Child at the Czech Government Human Rights Council.

Zeman's nominees for the first and second attempts at a new Deputy Ombudswoman were the incumbent, Stanislav Křeček (a lawyer and former MP for the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) whose term as Deputy Ombudswoman ended this April), and another lawyer and former MP for the ČSSD, Zdeněk Koudelka. The Senate's first-round nominees were the Dean of the Law Faculty at Masaryk University in Brno, Markéta Selucká, and the former Constitutional Court Justice and former Senator Eliška Wagnerová.

The Senate's second-round nominees were Selucká and their own former vice-chair representing the "Mayors" party (Starosty), Jiří Šesták. It was previously reported that Křeček will remain the Deputy Public Defender of Rights (Ombudswoman) until his successor takes the oath of office.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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