Outgoing Czech Public Defender of Rights says her former deputy is not a good choice to succeed her
Czech Public Defender of Rights Anna Šabatová does not consider the possible candidacy of 81-year-old Stanislav Křeček for the ombudsman role to be a good idea. She considers the other two candidates nominated by the Senate, the attorney Jan Matys and Vít Alexander Schorm, who currently represents the Czech Government before the European Court of Human Rights, to be both equally appropriate for the job.
Šabatová gave her assessment to journalists after the close of a press conference yesterday. Her time in office ends next month.
"This year the unusual situation has arisen of the candidacy for one nominee being withdrawn, but I do consider the other aspirants to be possible contenders, I do not have any information about their being associated with any political party or that there would be anything in their pasts that would disqualify them from performing this job," she said. Křeček, who has aspired to the ombudsman role since 2014, will be nominated by Czech President Miloš Zeman.
The speaker of the Czech Senate, Jaroslav Kubera (Civic Democratic Party - ODS), announced that news on Tuesday after meeting with Zeman. "I do not consider that a good choice," Šabatová said when asked for her opinion.
The ombudswoman said she would not be commenting further on her former deputy's candidacy. Křeček served in that role until last year and the two of them repeatedly disagreed about various issues.
In 2014, in the much-covered case of a student told by a school that she was not allowed to wear her hijab while on the premises, Křeček disagreed with the ombudswoman's official stance. While Šabatová said the school had indirectly discriminated against the girl because wearing a head scarf was a display of her religion, Křeček said he believed the school had the right to determine the appearance of pupils during instruction.
The President and the Senate are each allowed to nominate two candidates for the Public Defender of Rights job. Zeman had so far just nominated Czech MP Helena Válková, who is also the current Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner and a former Justice Minister.
Válková declined the nomination after it came to light that in the late 1970s she had co-authored a criminological 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. In December the President sent a letter to the lower house explaining that his choice of a second candidate had declined the nomination.
The Senate has nominated the attorney Jan Matys and Vít Alexander Schorm, who currently represents the Czech Government before the European Court of Human Rights, as its candidates for the Public Defender of Rights job. According to Kubera's statement on Tuesday, their candidacies remain valid.
MPs with the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD), which is in the coalition Government, will be meeting to discuss which candidate to support for the Public Defender of Rights position. They will definitively decide after meeting with each candidate, which is likely to happen soon.
Jan Hamáček, chair of the Social Democrats, informed the Czech News Agency (ČTK) that the party had decided to take that approach. He also said he respected the nomination of Křeček.
"He will be one of the candidates about whom the Chamber of Deputies will be voting," the Social Democratic chair said. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) responded to a ČTK question about that candidate by stating that Zeman has the right to nominate Křeček.
Šabatová's term ends on 18 February. The lower house will vote on the new Public Defender of Rights by 12 February at the earliest, according to the chair of the commission on such votes by the Chamber of Deputies, Czech MP Martin Kolovratník (ANO).
- Czech President to nominate former Deputy Public Defender of Rights candidate for next Public Defender of Rights
- Czech Social Democratic Party has new candidate for President to nominate as ombudswoman after his first choice declines due to pressure over her past
- Some Czech minorities, NGOs consider nomination of Human Rights Commissioner as ombudswoman a good choice
- Czech President nominates current Human Rights Commissioner as candidate for ombudswoman, opposition not enthusiastic
- Czech Deputy Public Defender of Rights is now Monika Šimůnková, a former Human Rights Commissioner
- Czech ombudswoman: Haters online frequently refuse to admit to themselves that they could be breaking the law
- Czech Govt Roma Council, Public Defender of Rights release handbook on how Czech citizens can return from Britain
- Czech lower house rejects controversial candidate for Deputy Public Defender of Rights
- Czech Deputy Ombudsman: We cannot treat people as individuals
- Czech President to decide whether Romani musician to receive state honors as Senate proposes
- Former Czech ombudswoman running for Senate on a platform of justice, in the broadest possible sense
- Commentary: Czech ombudsman's racist remarks reveal his ignorance of Roma and of history
- In one Czech Senate race, the "private individual vs. bureaucrat" distinction is being drawn
- Czech MP who compared Muslim immigrants to "invasive species" will not be stripped of immunity from prosecution
- Romani musician proposed for Czech state honors
- Czech ultra-nationalist MP could evade prosecution for calling immigrant Muslims an "invasive species"
- Czech lower house committee suspends discussion of stripping ultranationalist MP of immunity from prosecution for xenophobic remarks
- Czech ombudsman "likes" racist post on Facebook, refuses to answer questions about what that means
- Author raising a Romani child says Czech Public Defender of Rights is racist and evil is slowly winning
- Czech protest against new ombudsman marches through second-largest city
- Czech demonstration for democratic institutions objects to new ombudsman, politicians' efforts to control public broadcasting