Statement No. 57: Appeal for united proceedings of the EU Countries

Appeal for united proceedings of the EU Countries

These days, most of the Czech and foreign media announced that, the Czech delegation to the EU Summit, led by Prime Minister Sobotka, have reserved the right of exceptions from asserting the sanctions against Russia, as accepted by the Summit.

The Democratic Club consider the current Russia’s actions on Ukraine to be just aggression, constituting, taking into question the lasting occupation of the territory of Georgia, a part of a broader plan, representing a menace to democracy and sovereignty throughout Europe. Therefore they suppose, this aggressiveness has to be confronted by united proceedings of the EU, the NATO and the remaining democratic Countries. Considering the current situation that requires fast actions and unity of all the EU and NATO States, we do not consider the Prime Minister’s approach acceptable. The Czech Republic is being represented in both of the Organisations´ headships and we demand therefore of the Government to keep respecting the need of unity.

The Prime Minister’s acting may, as to our opinion, arouse the question whether the longed-for retreat from the anti-Union policies of the former Czech Governments does not appear at a declaratory level only, and at the level of symbols. Only an actual relationship to the EU and the NATO can give the Czech Republic the guaranty of permanence of the State and its democratic system.

Prague, September 8, 2014.

Statement No. 56: On the paying of respects to the Constitution of Czech Republic

On the paying of respects to the Constitution of Czech Republic

The Democratic Club is alarmed by the low level of respects paid to Czech Constitution and CR constitutional usage by some of the constitutional officials. Actions against the spirit and letter of the Constitution were seen also during the period of office of the former CR President Mr. Klaus, after the election of current President Mr. Zeman the tendencies strengthened significantly.
The President has paid an insufficient respect to the Constitution mainly by
refusing to appoint a Government based on a Parliament majority, which is contradictory to constitutional usage. He explains his action by an insufficient legitimacy of some of the Representatives. He appropriates this way the right to assess legitimacy of the Representatives´ mandate, short of having been directly neither indirectly given this right by the Constitution;
showing to be entitled to voluntarily postpone actions committed to him by the Constitution. Prime Minister Rusnok admitted already publicly that, his Government could remain in office until ordinary elections even in case of credulity refusal on the part of House of Representatives, which means over a term of almost one year. A circumstance is being employed here that, the Constitution does not require a definite term for a new Prime Minister’s appointment.
The President has this way changed the current political system from the parliamentary one into a presidential one, may be into a personal power type one. Presidential system as such is compatible with democracy, but the transition to it should be accepted by a necessary majority of Representatives of by a public referendum, if needed. Its introduction by one person’s decision is absolutely incompatible with democracy.
The President expressed his approach to the spirit and letter of the Constitution in a recent interview for German media. He stated, he is not entitled to change the Constitution, but he can change the usage. The Democratic Club standpoint refuses such an approach. Every legal act represents a unity of its spirit and letter and no individual is entitled to voluntarily change these.
The Democratic Club feels the current situation risky for Czech democracy’s future. They ask President Zeman therefore to pay respects to the Constitution and constitutional traditions of Czech Republic. They also appeal to the Representatives and Senators to consider suing the President for constitutional offence if no redress has been offered. They appeal to them, at the same time, to consider whether a Constitution offering such a wide freedom of interpretation corresponds to the maturity and political culture of today’s Czech Republic and whether it could not be proficient to replace it by a new text, introducing some limits to voluntary arrangements when explaining it.

Prague, August 3, 2013.

Statement No. 55: Institute for Study of Totalitarian Regimes

On personnel changes in the Institute for Study of Totalitarian Regimes  (ÚSTR)

The Democratic Club welcomed in their official position No. 22 of 2002 already, the proposal of Act on the Institute for Documentation of Totality. We expressed a conviction there that, “an impartial and well funded analytical processing only can enable the society as a whole to more deeply understand ways of functioning of oppressive components of the totalitarian Communist regime, thus creating presumptions for the effective settlement of an important area of the Communist past as well as minimizing the chance of a recidive of that.”

We are sure that the Institute for Study of Totalitarian Regimes (USTR),  founding of which took place later, did an immense volume of beneficial work in this spirit. We assume, even some mistakes could have been caused within the Institute´s activities over the years of existence. However, we are not in the position of accepting the mistakes being the reason for recalling the director and other significant members of the Institute. The changed political structure of the CR Parliament´s Senate and of the Institute´s Board of Directors seems to us to be a much more likely reason, as well as the coalition-forming intentions of the victorious Party, while, doubtlessly, interpretation of history in a democratic State should never depend upon election results. This conviction of ours is supported at the same time by the members of the Insitute´s scientific council resignation, most of who are noted for their scientific and moral integrity.

Opening of discussion on the question whether Communist regime was or was not totalitarian over the entire term of its existence can be assumed especially counter-productive, since a unified and universally accepted definition of totality does not exist. Doubtlessly, the regime was an oppressive one though hardness of oppression fluctuated, and it was a negation of democracy over the whole term of existence hence, worth of damnation.

Therefore, we call on the USTR Council to negate their decision of recalling the Director and to render it possible to continue activities of the Institute in the spirit of the Act 218/2007 Preamble, free of political deformations. As a primary and highly urgent a task, as the climate of recent weeks shows it, the protection of security forces archives from possible intrusions can be assumed as well as their introduction into public domain in their full integrity, in order to enable everyone interested to employ the data contained for their research, including scientists and historians whole the world over. The most efficient support of high-quality and independent research, hence of an impartial and multi-layer knowlege, can be secured by rendering access to well described, classified and most complete primary data to all the scientists wishing to work on these. It is the most efficient way, at the same time, of purporting satisfaction to the criticism of the Institute´s former Council in the sense of research having been neglected of some aspects of our society´s development over the periods of years 1938-1945 and 1948-1989. We also assume it our democratic right to re-present those outcomes we feel deformed, by all means.

Prague, May 7, 2013.

Statement No. 54: On the punishment to Radio Česko for the so-called unbalanced commentary

On the punishment to Radio Česko for the so-called unbalanced commentary

As it has been communicated by the media, the Czech Radio council and the director of Czech Radio news service punished the chief editor of Radio Česko for the commentary on presidential elections having taken the part of one of the candidates; the commentary is said to be unbalanced. We consider this decision and punishment strange, at least. Commentaries, as the law has it, are to be different from the news. A commentary always expresses its author´s standpoint which means, it cannot be “balanced”. Balancedness only can be secured by a summary of commentaries over a shorter or longer period by means of selection of commentators covering a full spectrum of views of the contemporary society.

We are alarmed by this decision and afraid that it means an attempt to limit the freedom of expression and to return to political censorship. Also the fact that, the decision had been taken based on a notice by Štěpán Kotrba, a former Communist Party member since 1986, is considered alarming.

We therefore request abolition of the punishment and a public apology to those punished.

Prague, February 16, 2013.

Statement No. 53: We support Karel Schwarzenberg in presidential elections

We support Karel Schwarzenberg in presidential elections

We are addressing hereby the members and friends of the Democratic Clubas well as the Czech Republic citizens with an advice to give their vote to Karel Schwarzenberg in the second round of the presidential elections. He proved through his life entire, to be a strong moral personality with undoubtedly significant merits for Czech Republic, before November 1989 through his support of political exile and dissent as well as after November by his support to Czech democracy renewal and to Czech foreign policy.  K.S. will be a noble representative of Czech abroad and a guarantee at the same time of the way of the Republic towards strengthening of democracy and legal order at home.

This recommendation was not sent in the time of the first round of the election, because other candidates were presented at that time, who also could be good presidents. But since these were not successful in the competition, we address them as well, to give the recommendation to thein own electors (if they have not done so, so far), to give their votes to Karel Schwarzenberg in the second round.

Prague, January 16, 2013.

Statement No. 52: On passing of the South Bohemia schools system management to Communists

On passing of the South Bohemia schools system management to Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia

As the media have informed recently, the newly elected South Bohemia  Region Council have appointed a representative of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia the Council member responsible for the schools system.

This decision of the top Region Body from one of the important Czech Republic regions makes us extremely alarmed even when it is not in conflict with the state of law of the Czech Republic. Namely it passes the principal influence on the appointments and recalls of school headmasters and on the general  education programmes and the application of these in the education programmes of schools i.e. on the contents of tuition proper, into the hands of Communists. This is opening the path to Communists for adaptation of tuition in the lines of Communist ideology: for the interpretation of history, of the economic and social processes, for the life values scale formation of children and youngsters and their attitudes to the world.

We are appealing therefore

  • to South Bohemia Region Representatives to reconsider the decision concerned;
  • to South Bohemia Regional President, to hinder the significant influence of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia on the appointments and recalls of headmasters and any political purges in the schools;
  • to current headmasters and unions in the schools, to defend the level of democracy reached by their active citizen attitudes and to openly report all tendencies of its limitation or the tuition indoctrination;
  • to the parents of pupils, to pay attention to the tuition of their children and to protest against any tendencies of distorting history and to keep employing all the chances offered by the contemporary democracy of ours to make the public aware of such tendencies; according to our experience, such tendencies will certainly appear;
  • to democratic political Parties and movements, not to admit the development of such a situation in the region.

In none of the Czech Republic regions gained the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia the absolute (more than half) majority of votes. The democratic Parties coalitions have to be preferred even in situations where it is not an ideal solution. A coalition with Communists means a starting point for democracy liquidation.

Democracy ripens over a long time and slowly. It requires several generations in order to create sufficient mechanisms within the society for its own defence. Our democracy is too fragile so far, the manifestations of its fragility are percepted by everyone. The more desirable it is, to give it space enough, for it to be able to ripen, to cultivate itself and to strenghten in the decades following. The more urgent it is, to prevent Communist ideology to attain a significant influence on the formation of children´s and youngsters´ attitudes to the world and on the information that they obtain at schoul. The school system is a neuralgic point in every society from the viewpoint of democracy´s perspective.

Prague, November 27, 2012.

Statement No. 51: On supporting the fight for human rights throughout the world

On supporting the fight for human rights throughout the world

The Democratic Club  listened with alarm to the Prime Minister´s words at Brno Machinery Fair, who condemned the support by Czech citizens of the Russian lady punkers and of Dalai Lama´s fight for Tibetan autonomy as harmful for Czech exports. While we realize the bad taste of the punkers´ behaviour as well as the material substance of the anxiety concerning some of the export items, we nevertheless consider such support correct and necessary. We realize that the collapse of autocratic regimes in our country as well as in the other countries was considerably influenced by foreign support of the revolt and resistance against these regimes, and we feel ourselves obliged to in this way help those fighting for similar aims now. Therefore, we request the Czech Government to support the position of adhering to all international contacts norms, and we call on political parties in civic society and also on the Media to support the fight for human rights everywhere.

Prague,  September 18,  2012

Statement No. 50: To the dismissal of the Ministr Jiří Pospíšil

To the dismissal of the Ministr Jiří Pospíšil

The Democratic Club was taken a back by the dismissal  of Jiří Pospíšil from the office of  the Minister of Justice.  We do not consider  the given reason for this step persuasive, i.e. his high demand for the budget of his resort. We question whether his dismissal might have been related to his  fight against corruption and for the rectification of the conditions in our justice system. Therefore we are asking the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic to inform the public about the real reasons of this dismissal, and possibly reverse this decision.

Prague,  June  29,  2012

Statement No. 49: On the question of Churches property restitution

On the question of Churches property restitution

We have always considered and still are considering at least a partial recompense of the property detriment done by the previous regime to the Churches a necessary component of the society transformation after November 1989. A righteous adjustment of property relationships between Churches, Orders and Congregations and the State has been considered since November 1989 a necessary presumption for the proper legal solution of property relationships but a necessary presumption, too, for an objective materialization of economic independence of the Churches, sui generis, on the State. We are stating here with regret that, not even after the twenty years from the appropriate laws acceptance the CR Parliament have not found good will and courage enough to carry the restitution of property to Churches, church organizations and associations through, in spite of the fact that, such a procedure is the most righteous form of “privatization” of the property confiscated by the monstrous totalitarian regime, and moderation of the caused injuries moreover.

Therefore, we are welcoming the consensus declared by the Government Parties, on the proposal of agreement reached after the long negotiations and reciprocal concessions by the Commission composed of representatives of both the State and the Churches in the matter of the Act on Churches Property Restitution. We are being alarmed, however, by the voices being heard again, even from the Government Parties, throwing doubt on the restitution.

One of the restitution opponents´ arguments is the question of ownership of the property. It is doubtless, anyway, that the property, before its confiscation by the Communist regime, had been owned by the Churches. Therefore it is necessary to return it, in order to rectify the injustice caused by the confiscation and to make the full development of the Churches life possible at the same time, since these are an important component of the civil society.

Another argument of the opponents currently is the strained State budget situation of the CR. We are assuming this argument to be a “populist” one and deeply amoral at the same time since there is no acceptable argument against the redress of crime consequences. Not mentioning the fact that, the financial part of the compensation is assumed distributed over a long period, hence, the Budget will be charged minimally only.

Therefore, we are asking the CR Parliament Members hereby, to render the Churches property restitution possible using their votes the way, the Coalition agreement is presuming.

Prague, June 4, 2012.

Statement No. 48: Concerning the activity of members and supporters of radical parties and movements in the executive sphere

Concerning the activity of members and supporters of radical parties and movements in the executive sphere

During the second half of February 2011, circulated was news concerning intentions of the Minister of Education to appoint as his first deputy a person who, in previous elections, led a list of the radical National Party in the region of Vysočina and who in his statements evoked the suspicion of supporting xenophobic and racial ideas. The Democratic Club vigorously defends the free exchange of opinions.  But it also vigorously believes that persons with radical and extremist views cannot hold leading positions and functions in the executive branch of a democratic state.  Furthermore, the Club believes that would mean tresspassing all tolerance and would eventually threaten the democratic character of the state.For that reason, we accepted and support a similar statement of Prime Minister Petr Nečas, and we expect that the appointment isn´t going to be made. At the same time, we are disconcerted that the President of the Republic has been backing a controversial candidate and who has expressed inadaquate critisism of some citizens who had refused appointment to a high position. It is the duty of democratic-minded citizens to step out against persons of suspected ideas and it is the duty of democratic apparatus in power to prevent such persons from influencing in particular the country’s education’s system, which is a very critical and sensitive sphere. Historically there is a number of examples when the inaction of citizens in similar situations resulted in endangering democracy or even in establishing undemocratic regimes.

Prague, March l3 th, 2011