Opposition: Zeman shouldn't be exempt from Lobbying Act
Prague – Opposition parties object to exempting the President from reporting requirements in the Lobbying Act. Aktualne.cz reports the cabinet of Andrej Babis (ANO) decided to do so in last week’s session, and according to deputies, there is no valid reason. According to MEP Mikulas Ferjencik, the pirates will submit an amendment that will return the president to the law.
Ministers passed the law last week, according to Aktualne.cz, the government accepted the change at the last minute. In the presented version of the new law, the president was featured, as were deputies, senators, deputies or the national drug coordinator. A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice Vladimir Repka said that the government proceeded to strike the President after the government proposed it at the meeting of the President of the Republic.
The inclusion of the president among obliged entities was proposed by the Pirates in the form of a comment already at the time when the bill was created. “Given the government’s decision, we will demand the same in the form of an amendment in the legislative process, Ferjencik said.
ODS deputy Marek Benda said that he does not see much of the law as a whole and will bring extraordinary bureaucracy. “But it is absolutely illogical to exclude the president from the law. As one of the few has some original, unconfirmed, powers. So if we are talking about the possible abuse of power for private purposes, then certainly the president belongs to the law.”
According to Pekarová Adamová, the regulation should also include all entities involved in the legislative process and decision-making. “There is no reason why the president should be above the law. I am ready to submit an amendment so that the law does not make an absurd exception.”
TOP 09 chairman Jiri Pospisil wrote on twitter that he understands that Zeman wanted to be exempt from the law when he surrounds himself with Chinese advisors and people such as Chancellor Vratislav Mynar or chief advisor Martin Nejedly.
Chairman of the Mayors and Independents Vít Rakušan said that there is no point in implementing the law and making exceptions right away. “Lobbying should have clear rules for all involved. It is interesting that the proposal contained the obligation for the President to report meetings with lobbyists. Suddenly, quietly, this duty for the head of state disappeared.”
In the first version of the bill, the Ministry of Justice did not include the President. The then Minister Jan Kněžínek (ANO) explained this, by the fact that the head of state cannot be punished for violating the law. However, after comments from the Legislative Council of the Government, the Ministry decided to add the President to the proposal in April.
The Lobbying Act, according to which politicians and other high-ranking representatives of the state must publicly register meetings with lobbyists and also record the content of negotiations, will be debated in the Chamber of Deputies.