President Zeman Threatens Okamura’s SPD Over Security Clearance Vote For Office Head MynarČTK
Prague, March 23 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman openly said he would not support the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) of Tomio Okamura because the party voted for a bill under which the Presidential Office head must have a top security clearance, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes today.
If this bill is pushed through parliament, Vratislav Mynar will have to end as the head of Zeman’s office.
Mynar has been heading the Presidential Office without a security clearance for five years. He asked for it in 2013, though he said he would not need it for the post under law, and the clearance process was launched in 2014. The National Security Office (NBU) refused to grant the clearance to Mynar who repeatedly appealed the decision. Zeman backed Mynar, saying the final verdict on the case has not yet been issued.
Two weeks ago, the lower house of parliament did not reject a bill submitted by the small opposition Mayors and Independents (STAN) under which Presidential Office heads would be obliged to have the top security clearance. The ANO movement of Prime Minister Andrej Babis and the Communists (KSCM) voted against it, but Okamura’s right-wing populist movement did not.
“Though I made several (supportive) gestures towards the SPD, I have to admit that I have not been happy about it recently. Do you know why? Because this party voted for the STAN proposal that the president’s office head should have the top clearance,” Zeman told MfD.
He said a party to whom he showed support should not act in such a way. “Okamura cannot be surprised that I will not show my support anymore until the SPD changes its stance,” Zeman told the paper.
MfD writes that Okamura tried to make the impression that nothing serious happened. “I have been saying from the beginning that I and the president do not have the same opinions on everything,” he said.
Okamura said the SPD is an independent political party and he continues to have a positive attitude towards Zeman.
The SPD, which has 22 seats in the 200-member lower house, is an anti-EU and anti-immigrant movement. The democratic parties in Czech parliament consider it extremist. Babis repeatedly pushed issues through the lower house thanks to the votes of the KSCM and the SPD. However, ANO is now negotiating about its government with the Social Democrats (CSSD) backed by the Communists.
The opposition unsuccessfully tried to dismiss Okamura as lower house deputy chairman over his statements that were considered challenging of the Roma Holocaust.
Late last year, Okamura was considering running for president, but he did not and he supported Zeman. Zeman then took part in an SPD congress. After Zeman’s re-election, Okamura stood next to Zeman at the celebration, MfD recalls.
Zeman, who defended his post in January, previously admitted that Okamura would have taken away a part of his voters if he had run.
MfD writes that Okamura hoped Zeman could help persuade Babis to make a pact with the SPD and that he could support the SPD demand that referendums may be held on Czech departure from the EU and NATO.
According to the paper, Zeman and Okamura have no long-term personal ties and their cooperation was negotiated by Zeman’s influential aide Martin Nejedly and political lobbyist Tomas Hrdlicka in order to increase their own influence and the influence of the SPD and the Presidential Office on the negotiations about a future government.