Petr Dubinsky

Opposition Condemns Proposal To Delay Election Indefinitely

Pirates and Mayors and Independents (STAN) want to delete a paragraph from the government’s amendment to the Constitutional Act on the Security of the Czech Republic, which, according to them, could allow unlimited postponement of elections. They demand that the cabinet also submit a separate regulation on the Central Crisis Staff and an amendment to the Crisis Act, which would define exactly in which type of emergency the rights can be restricted. The bill was prepared in June by the Ministry of the Interior.

The amendment would allow the government to declare a state of danger at the national level. Which currently only exists at the regional level.

According to the interior, it should now make it possible to respond better nationwide to, for example, a pandemic, drought, or cyber-attacks than the current state of emergency. Even in a state of danger, the cabinet should be able to restrict property rights, freedom of movement, residence, or assembly, but it would not be possible to limit the right to strike.

Pirates and STAN, object to the possibility of shortening the passage of laws in times of emergency.

“Abbreviated approval is only possible today in a state of threat to the state, and during war, it is an even stricter regime than a legislative emergency,” they say.

They add that at such a moment, the rights of the opposition are restricted, the Senate has only 24 hours to discuss the bill, and the Chamber of Deputies has limited possibilities. According to Pirates and STAN, the proposed regulation is disproportionate. Also, the use of the legislative emergency regime proved successful in the spring.

Another of the proposed adjustments, according to opposition parties, threatens to allow unlimited postponement of elections. “At present, it is possible to postpone elections in crises for a maximum of half a year, by law. The proposal expands this possibility by maintaining the possibility of postponement by half a year, but this can be done repeatedly, theoretically indefinitely,” the opinion said. According to Pirates and STAN, it is not necessary or acceptable to give the government and the majority a similar authority. “We demand either the deletion of the point or at least an adjustment so that the postponement by more than six months must be made by constitutional law,” he said.

On the contrary, they appreciate that the bill envisions that the law will introduce a regulation on the Central Crisis Staff issues. “Given the importance of this body, its existence should have a legal basis,” said Pirates and STAN. Also, according to them, it could help prevent the recurrence of spring disputes over the establishment of the staff, its composition, and management. According to them, the staff should be regulated in a special law. They also request the submission of an amendment to the Crisis Act with specific regulations on what rights can and cannot be restricted during a state of emergency.