If Elected, How Will Czech Presidential Candidates Wield Veto Power?

Prague, Nov 19 (CTK) – All contenders seeking the post of Czech president in the January direct election view the president’s right to veto bills as a useful instrument and they would apply veto similarly to the practice the presidents have pursued so far, they have told CTK separately.


Mirek Topolanek, former Civic Democrat (ODS) prime minister, said the presidential veto’s meaning is symbolical to a large extent. The president can apply it to highlight disputable parts of bills, mistakes and breach of the constitution. On the other hand, the Chamber of Deputies can easily override his veto by an absolute majority of 101 votes, Topolanek said.


“This means that the president should more communicate with the government, deputies and senators in order to prevent unnecessary vetos on his part that are but mere gestures, and he should not apply this power excessively,” Topolanek said.


Entrepreneur and lyricist Michal Horacek said the president should exercise his post to the best of his knowledge and conscience. If one of the other urged him to veto a bill, he would do so.


Former Skoda Auto chief Vratislav Kulhanek is of the same view. He would veto the bills with which he would disagree, he said.


“Of course, I would consult experts in the relevant branch first,” he said.


Jiri Hynek, head of the Czech Defence and Security Industry Association, said he would veto stupid bills and those going counter to the people. If vetoing a bill, he would release the reasons that made him to do it.


Former Science Academy chairman Jiri Drahos said he considers veto an exceptional instrument.


“I would ponder applying a veto only if I were firmly convinced that the bill is bad for essential reasons,” Drahos said, adding that he would also take the position of the two chambers of parliament into account. The Senate’s disapproval of a bill alone would not be a reason for him to veto it, Drahos said.


Physician Marek Hilser said the president should veto bills if he has cogent reasons to do so.


“Such situations should not occur often, but they can never be absolutely ruled out. The president should not give up this right but he must apply it prudently and mainly for the public benefit,” Hilser said.


Pavel Fischer, former Czech ambassador to France, said it is necessary to veto bills now and then. “I would mainly concentrate on the cases where the bill is at variance with the constitution,” he said.


Musician and The Reasonable party chief Petr Hannig said he would keep the current practice as applied by Czech presidents so far.


The incumbent President Milos Zeman, who will seek re-election in January, has not responded CTK’s question. In a discussion preceding the previous presidential polls in early 2013, Zeman said if he disagreed with a significant bill proposed by the government, he would try to prevent [its passing] by addressing the cabinet or the Chamber of Deputies.