Prague - Czech President Milos Zeman appointed 85 university professors on Friday, the Presidential Office announced today.
The candidates had to wait many months for the appointment because Zeman intended to give up his power to grant professorship after last year´s controversy over the appointment of literary scholar Martin C. Putna.
Zeman decided to appoint the candidates now that a new bill, aimed to transfer the power to the head of the Senate, the upper house of parliament, was rejected by the Chamber of Deputies a few days ago.
Before, the bill had been criticised by the universities, who pointed out that the valid law states that "the president appoints professors," while an article in the new bill would enable the Senate chairperson not to have to appoint the nominees.
In mid-January, Zeman said if the bill failed in parliament, he would sign the appointment decrees but he would empower the education minister to present them to the professors.
University rectors agreed with this procedure, which, however, is provisory.
Zeman does not like having to sign proposals for candidates´ appointments automatically, and he wants to give up the power.
Education Minister Marcel Chladek (Social Democrats, CSSD) has proposed several alternative solutions, including one which says that professors can be appointed either by the Senate chairperson, the education minister or universities themselves.
Last week, the Council of Universities said the system of appointing professors should be solved only by a new complex bill that would also deal with other problems related to universities.
Zeman and the then education minister Petr Fiala agreed to seek a change to the system of appointment after the controversy over Putna, whom Zeman refused to appoint due to his alleged inappropriate public appearances.