The head of the chancellery of the President of the Czech Republic showed a video showing how Milosz Zeman, who is staying at the hospital, signs a decree convening a session of the newly elected Chamber of Deputies. The video was recorded a week ago. Thursday’s presentation was a response to the accusations of the media and some politicians who doubted the truthfulness of the president’s signature on the document shown earlier.
In the published video, Milosz Zeman is lying in a hospital bed. Addressing the chairman of the Chamber of Deputies, Radek Vondraczek, present in the room, he declares that he is calling a meeting of the newly elected Chamber at the earliest possible date, i.e. on November 8. Vondraczek replies “great” and Zeman adds a quote from Niccolo Machiavelli in German: “whoever gains time gains everything”. Later, the visibly tired president closes his eyes.
At the press conference at which the head of the president’s office, Vratislav Mynarz, presented the video from October 14, it was also stated that the president entrusted Vondraczek with the task of preparing the inaugural parliamentary session before he was hospitalized on October 10.
Accusations of lack of transparency
The video, presented on Thursday, was the first publicly shown video of the president in a hospital setting.
Zeman was admitted to the intensive care unit on October 10. The president’s office provided very laconic information about his health. After admitting the president to the hospital, the hospital director and the attending physician refused to provide a diagnosis, citing the patient’s decision. The president’s advisers also claimed that they did not have permission to inform the public about the health of the head of state.
The lack of information on this matter caused a lot of controversy in the Czech Republic. There were accusations of lack of transparency.
Procedure for removing the president from office
On Monday, the chairman of the Senate, Milosz Vystrczil, quoted a report prepared at the request of his office by President Zeman’s attending physician. It shows that the president is unable to perform his duties in the present state. As added, the nature of his illness precludes a quick recovery.
The leadership of the Czech Senate concluded that the doctor’s opinion made it possible to initiate a procedure related to article 66 of the constitution, which would allow for temporary or permanent dismissal of the office of the incumbent president. Both houses of the Czech parliament must agree on this matter. The duties of the president are then transferred to the prime minister and the chairmen of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The procedure should be completed by November 8. On that day, the Chamber of Deputies elected in October convenes at the inaugural session. At this point, the current Prime Minister Andrej Babisz should resign his cabinet. The government carries out its duties until the new cabinet is sworn in.
The presentation of the report of the Central Military Hospital in Prague was preceded by a statement to the press by the head of the Chancellery of President Vratislav Mynarz, who said that Zeman himself signed a decree convening the Chamber of Deputies for November 8. He accused the president of the Senate of a media game and striving to remove Zeman from his office. He emphatically reiterated that the president’s hospitalization on October 10 was pre-planned and that the president was conscious at all times.
According to the chairman of the Civic Democratic Party, part of the SPOLU and PIRSTAN coalition, which is to take power in the Czech Republic, the latest information from Chancellor Mynarz has no impact on the ongoing events related to the calendar of transfer of power after the elections on 8 and 9 October. According to the current opposition parties, the publication of the photos will not have any impact on the procedure launched by the Senate to remove Zeman from the office of president.
Investigation into possible criminal activities against the Czech Republic
Commencement of the procedure related to Art. 66 of the Constitution is accompanied by information about the initiation by the police of an investigation into a possible crime against the Czech Republic. Police authorities reported this on social media and stipulated that they would not provide further information. The investigation is to concern possible criminal activities that could be aimed at the state. The Criminal Code includes such crimes as treason, sabotage or an attempt to overthrow state authorities.
The media is of the opinion that investigators’ activities will focus on the conduct of officials from the President’s Chancellery who did not inform the public about Zeman’s actual health condition and claimed that he was able to perform the duties of the head of state. Investigators will be particularly interested in the case of the president’s signature on the decree convening the inaugural session of the new lower house of parliament on November 8. The document was presented by the chairman of the Chamber of Deputies, Radek Vondraczek, who claims that he was called by the president to the hospital to witness the signing.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Information Security Service (BIS) announced the initiation of the investigation into the events related to the president’s health condition. Pursuant to the Act, its mandate concerns the protection of the constitution and constitutional organs of the state.
Prime Minister Andrej Babisz decided on Tuesday that the head of the President’s Chancellery Vratislav Mynarz should immediately resign. The prime minister threatened him that if he had the powers of the head of state, he would immediately dismiss him.
Main photo source: Chancellery of the President of the Czech Republic