In twist of fate, new Public Defender of Rights sworn in by chair of ultranationalist party
The day after the six-year mandate of the previous Public Defender of Rights, Anna Šabatová, came to an end, her successor Stanislav Křeček took his oath office today in Prague. Because the chair of the lower house, Czech MP Radek Vondráček (Association of Dissatisfied Citizens - ANO) was traveling abroad to Laos and Thailand, the first vice-chair, Vojtěch Filip (Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia - KSČM) was meant to preside over the proceedings.
However, Filip was taken to hospital after suffering a suspected heart attack. Křeček therefore ended up taking the oath with the second vice-chair, Tomio Okamura of the "Freedom and Direct Democracy Party" (SPD) presiding.
The new ombudsman, who previously served as Deputy Public Defender of Rights, will probably start work in Brno tomorrow. The 81-year-old was nominated by Czech President Zeman and chosen last week by the Chamber of Deputies during a second round of secret voting.
Křeček defeated the Senate's candidate, Vít Alexander Schorm, who serves as the Czech Government's representative before the European Court of Human Rights. Attorney Jan Matys was also proposed by the Senate and lost during the first round.
Members of the opposition in the lower house from the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL), the Civic Democrats (ODS), the Mayors and Independents (STAN), the Pirates and TOP 09 criticized the outcome. The "Million Moments for Democracy" association will be holding a demonstration on Sunday, 1 March in Prague to protest Křeček's election.
There will also be protests against the outcome in the capitals of various regions. Křeček was Šabatová's deputy and constantly publicly disagreed with her opinions.
Last week he said he considers his election to be an expression of appreciation for the job he did. "I believe that this will be to the benefit of the ordinary people who turn to [the Public Defender of Rights]," he told the Czech News Agency.
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