Justice Minister Pelikan Quits After Crossing Zeman In Hacker CaseČTK
Prague, June 19 (CTK) – Czech Justice Minister Robert Pelikan (ANO) gave up his seat in the lower house of parliament today, Justice Ministry spokeswoman Tereza Schejbalova said on Twitter.
In April, Pelikan said he would leave politics and return to his profession of a lawyer. He said he would not continue in the emerging second government of Andrej Babis (ANO).
Babis would like his next government to start fully operating in July.
Pelikan, 38, has been justice minister since March 2015. He joined ANO in 2015 and was elected to the lower house for it last autumn.
He said previously he would leave politics also because his opinions differ from those of ANO, but he added he would remain a member of the movement. In reaction, Babis said ANO would miss Pelikan because he represented the voice of city liberals in the movement.
Pelikan has also been sharply opposed to any cooperation with the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) anti-immigrant populist movement of Tomio Okamura, which he labelled a fascist party.
The case of alleged Russian hacker Yevgenyi Nikulin whom he had extradited to the USA earlier this year contributed to his decision to leave politics. President Milos Zeman repeatedly tried to make Pelikan extradite Nikulin to Russia.
Lower house chairman Radek Vondracek (ANO) accepted Pelikan’s resignation this afternoon. The vacant seat will be occupied by ANO’s substitute, Monika Cervickova, who is likely to take her lawmaker’s oath at the beginning of the lower house session next week.
Pelikan has been the fifth lower house member to give up his mandate in the present election term staring in November 2017. At the constituent session of the new parliament, Central Bohemia government Jaroslava Pokorna Jermanova (ANO), Liberec Region governor Martin Puta (Mayors and Independents, STAN) and Jiri Hlavaty (for ANO), who wanted to run for senator, gave up their mandates. In March, former prime minister and Social Democrat (CSSD) leader Bohuslav Sobotka gave up his mandate.