Czech President to nominate former Deputy Public Defender of Rights candidate for next Public Defender of Rights
Czech President Miloš Zeman will nominate the 81-year-old former MP for the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) and former Deputy Public Defender of Rights Stanislav Křeček as a candidate for the post of the next Public Defender of Rights. The speaker of the Senate, Jaroslav Kubera (Civic Democratic Party - ODS) announced the news yesterday after lunching to mark the new year with Zeman and the chair of the Chamber of Deputies, Radek Vondráček (Association of Dissatisfied Citizens - ANO).
For his part, Vondráček merely stated that Zeman had decided to withdraw his nomination of Czech MP Helena Válková (ANO) as a candidate for the Public Defender of Rights position. Zeman nominated Křeček twice last year to continue in the post of Deputy Public Defender of Rights, but the Chamber of Deputies did not accept the idea of a second term for him and has since voted in his successor.
"[Zeman] didn't say I had to keep this under wraps. His candidate will be Stanislav Křeček, whom he will now nominate as candidate for ombudsman," Kubera said.
Válková has already decided to refuse the nomination as candidate for the Public Defender of Rights post after it came to light that in the late 1970s she co-authored a journal article with former communist prosecutor Josef Urválek, who prosecuted the show trials of Milada Horáková and Rudolf Slánský in the 1950s, both of whom were subsequently executed. "The President has informed me in writing that he will retract the nomination of Ms Válková for the post of ombudswoman," Vondráček said.
Senator Kubera said Válková may also soon lose her job as Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner. "My estimate is that she will not last long there all the same," he said.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) said on Monday that he does not yet want to associate Válková recusing herself from the nomination for ombudswoman with her position as Human Rights Commissioner, and Vondráček said he does not believe Válková will leave her Government appointment. "She is performing well in that function, whether she remains or not in that job is probably not on the table," Vondráček told journalists.
The Government met on Monday to discuss whether she should remain in the position of Human Rights Commissioner but did not vote on the issue. ČSSD representatives in the coalition Government expressed their desire to see her gone.
Válková has refused to resign. According to the heads of both chambers of Parliament, Zeman met with Válková again yesterday.
"Mr President is going to wash away Ms Válková's tears, she's with him now," Senator Kubera said. The Senate has proposed two candidates for the Public Defender of Rights position, the attorney Jan Matys and Vít Alexander Schorm, who currently represents the Czech Government before the European Court of Human Rights.
"The Senate is insisting on its candidates," Kubera declared. However, he also said he would personally rather abolish both the Human Rights Commissioner post and that of the Public Defender of Rights, as he believes they are "superfluous".
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