The Democratic Club Position No. 65 On the Necessity of Observance of the Constitution of the Czech Republic

The Democratic Club fears, that just like in the case of the formation of the new government of the Czech Republic after the last elections to the Parliament (2013), the current government crisis will lead to attempts to apply such an interpretation of the Constitution that is contrary to its spirit, especially as regards the questions about the Czech president’s right to reject the Prime Minister’s proposals on the composition of his government or possibility to maintain in office a government (or some of its members) which have no confidence of the Parliament. It is in the interests of the citizens of the Czech Republic that all parties to the dispute respect the spirit and the letter of the Constitution of the Czech Republic. Its distorted interpretation and attempts to its application would mean the end of the Czech parliamentary democracy.

In Prague on May 10, 2017

Statement No. 60: On the need of consistency in the behaviour of the executive in foreign policy of the Czech Republic

The Democratic Club notes that during almost the entire post-November period, the position of the government and the President manifested some differences in the formulation of their approach to certain foreign policy issues. Those differences were intensified especially after the last presidential election and after the outbreak of the current conflict in eastern Ukraine. While the government is expressing moderate opinion in favour of maintaining the territorial integrity of Ukraine, President’s statements are increasingly approaching the position of Russia. Such a contradiction makes Czech foreign policy incomprehensible and cannot contribute to the perception of the Czech Republic as a reliable partner for its allies.

The Democratic Club believes that the President, who is according to the Constitution part of the executive power, should express attitudes, agreed by the choir, which is the representative of this power, i.e. the government of the Czech Republic. Therefore, it asks the President of the Czech Republic to consult his observations with the government and to behave within the content of the results of these consultations. We ask as well deputies and senators of the Czech Parliament to make a statement in this effect and to check the fulfilment of these requirements.

The Democratic Club is particularly concerned about the President’s statements that ignore disturbing of the territorial integrity of Ukraine by Russia, which is in direct contrast to the approach of the EU and NATO, of which the Czech Republic is a member. But also, some statements of the government, which is trying to mitigate as far as possible sanctions against the aggressor and who in advance refuse to supply defensive weapons for Ukraine in case the diplomatic solutions fail, cannot be beneficial for peace and democracy in Europe. We are asking the Czech government to fully respect our membership in EU and NATO, which is the greatest benefit of our November changes. In our Statement No. 57 of September 28, 2014, we have already expressed the necessity of the unity of all EU countries in adherence to the resolutions and their realization, because our country is taking part in their establishment.

Statement No. 59: On the Problem of Police Wiretaps and Publishing of the Contents of These

In 2014, especially in connection with investigation of the persons acting in the case of Mr Nečas and Mrs Nagyová, public concern has arisen within a major part of our public due to the wiretaps of suspect persons and persons acting in clarification of possible criminal activities of those.

The Democratic Club are fully aware of the fact that, examination of the contents of communicat- ion between potentially suspect persons can become an important and in many cases necessary way towards solution of criminal activities. However, it is necessary to secure that the information obtained is made available to those authorities only, who act in the criminal proceedings. To the public then in such extent only that becomes a part of the court records. The decision on this belongs to the court only. According to the law, when offering information to the public as it con- cerns their own activities, the authorities acting in criminal proceedings take care not to endanger clarification of the facts important for the criminal proceedings, not to publish data on the persons participating in the criminal proceedings that do not directly connect to criminal activities, and not to violate the principle that, until the suspect person is pronounced guilty, he/she against whom the criminal trial is being conducted cannot be seen as the culprit.

The Democratic Club are alarmed by the fact that, these claims are by far not satisfied. The media keep publishing citations from the wiretaps whereby the process of investigation is affected as well as the public opinion. By delibarate selection from the wiretaps obtained, public opinion can be manipulated and reputation even of those who have not committed anything can be violated, what can affect the election results, too, and the composition of legislative bodies. It is clear at the same time that, leakage of the wiretap contents could not happen without participation of some of the staffmembers of the wiretapping bodies.

The Democratic Club therefore consider it necessary for the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme State Prosecutor and other participating bodies, to check whether the laws applicable are sufficient for the prosecution of persons facilitating the leakage of information from the wiretaps, whether sufficient efforts have been applied in order to identify persons guilty of the leakage and whether wiretapping has been only applied in such cases where it was quite necessary and where it was ordered by the court. In any cases of shortages, suitable legislation changes are needed and corresponding labour law and criminal consquences drawn against those guilty of the current situation.

Prague, January 6, 2015.

Statement No. 58: On Franchise and the Recent CR Parliament Elections

On Franchise and the Recent CR Parliament Elections

One important feature of parliamentary elections in advanced democratic States is the principle of franchise, i.e., the right of all citizens to participate limited only by age and a loss of civil rights or other legal incapacitation. However, participation in elections in the Czech Republic is practically impossible to a relatively vast number of citizens who are abroad on the Election Day without access to CR diplomatic missions. Most advanced democracies have dealt this problem for persons on business trips, working stays etc. simply. They make the postal voting method available to citizens outside the country on Election Day. This method has not yet been introduced in the Czech Republic.

The Democratic Club encourages the Czech Parliament to enact postal voting by the next Parliamentary elections. This enactment will establish an important democratic principle but also permanently solve the long-term problem of low voter turnout.  Such laws in advanced democratic countries with elections procedures like those of the Czech Republic can be a model for parliamentarians to consider.

We are aware that postal voting can facilitate electoral frauds. However, we do not believe Parliament would de facto deny the franchise to citizens who are otherwise eligible to vote. We are confident that Members of Parliament would institute safeguards making attempts at fraudulent voting impossible, as they are advanced democracies.

Prague, November 14, 2014