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Nominees for Czech ombud include Fischerová, Marvanová and Šabatová

Prague, 13.1.2014 17:40, (ROMEA)
Anna Šabatová (PHOTO: Romea.cz archive)
Anna Šabatová (PHOTO: Romea.cz archive)

Next month the Czech lower house will vote in a new Public Defender of Rights (or ombud) and there is a big chance that a female nominee will take up the post. The candidates are said to be former dissident Anna Šabatová, who will evidently be nominated by the Czech Senate; Táňa Fischerová, whom the ANO Movement intends to negotiate support for in the lower house; and attorney Hana Marvanová, who might also be nominated by the Senate, according to news server iDNES.cz.  

Czech President Miloš Zeman has also nominated two male candidates, current Deputy Ombud Stanislav Křeček and the former head of the Czech Government Legislative Council, Pavel Zářecký. Zeman made his announcement on Czech Television's "Questions with Václav Moravec" program.

Like the president and the Senate, the lower chamber of parliament can also put forward two nominees for the post. The MPs will then evidently vote on who will become the new ombud next month.

Both of Zeman's candidates have been the subjects of unflattering media coverage in the past. In 1998 it was reported that Křeček had been using the title JUDr. for many years without authorization, but he subsequently completed the requisite examination and was properly awarded the title of doctor of law.

In 2004 the press took exception to the fact that then-Interior Minister Stanislav Gross was awarded his own JUDr. title by friends of his on the Law Faculty of West Bohemian University, one of whom, then-Deputy Interior Minister Zářecký, was also a member of the faculty's academic council. The Public Defender of Rights position is free because Pavel Varvařovský resigned in December.

Křeček, a former Czech Social Democratic (ČSSD) MP, previously said he would accept a nomination for the post. He has already met with Zeman.  

Křeček has also said he will not publicize in advance whom he might eventually consider for his deputy ombud should he be elected to the position. The president's other nominee, Zářecký, is a 73-year-old lawyer who has worked at the deputy minister level in both the Interior Ministry and the Justice Ministry for the past 20 years.

Zářecký has also worked as the head of the Czech Government Legislative Council for both the Paroubek and Fischer cabinets. As for lower house nominee Táňa Fischerová, who is currently the chair of the Czech Helsinki Committee, she has preliminarily agreed to take up the post if chosen, according to news server iDNES.cz.

"It is completely logical - I've been involved in the public defense of rights my entire life," the former MP and failed presidential candidate told news server iDNES.cz, "but I am not seeking to negotiate my nomination, that's for ANO to do, I don't intend to polish the door handles myself."  

Fischerová has also said she would prefer to make way for Anna Šabatová, currently the chair of the ČSSD's Commission on Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and the Family, to become ombud. "If Anna Šabatová were to have the chance to be elected I definitely would not stand in her way, she would be an appropriate candidate - she's been an authority figure in this area since the previous regime,"  Fischerová, who was also active in dissenting against the communist regime, told iDNES.cz.

"She's proven that she knows how to take charge on behalf of others," Fischerová said of Šabatová. Martina Kolovratníka (ANO), head of the voting commission in the lower house, says the deadline for the president and Senate to send their nominees for ombud to the lower house is the afternoon of Wednesday, 22 January.


ČTK, voj, iDNES.cz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Lidská práva, Ombudsman, Politika, Prezident



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