Latest proposed bill to more politicise Czech civil service-Zeman


02.09.2014 19:33

Prague - The latest version of the civil service bill would not depoliticise the Czech civil service but further politicise it, President Milos Zeman told MPs today, adding that he would turn to the Constitutional Court if they pushed through the bill including the posts of "political deputy ministers."


Miloš Zeman vystoupil na mimořádné schůzi Sněmovny, která byla zahájena 2. září v Praze. Prezident seznámil poslance se svými výhradami k novele služebního zákona. ČTK Kamaryt Michal

He said the provision on political deputy ministers is but a rider that has nothing to do with the discussed draft amendment to the civil service law.

Zeman said he would not veto the bill if it did not include the institution of political deputy ministers, whom governing parties are supposed to install at ministries.

If the deputies overrode his veto, Zeman said he is ready to lodge "a constitutional complaint for the above reasons."

The bill says each minister can have two political deputy ministers at the most.

The Chamber of Deputies is to take the final vote on it next Wednesday.

In accordance with the modifying proposals deputies submitted in the second reading today, the Chamber will also vote on a version of the bill without the political deputy ministers and on a version reducing their number from two to one.

The proposals were made by deputies from the Communist Party and the Dawn movement, i.e. the opposition parties that stand outside the compromise deal that the government and the rightist opposition TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats (ODS) reached on the civil service bill several weeks ago.

Zeman said ironically that the only reason for the existence of the posts of political deputy ministers would be the fight against unemployment, as it would create 30 jobs.

He also criticised the planned way of selecting state secretaries and deputy ministers from among experts. They will be exposed to political influence, he said.

"I am convinced that the proposed bill would not only fail to depoliticise civil service, but it would even further politicise it," Zeman said.

The government has failed to fulfil the promise it gave in its policy statement and in the coalition agreement at the beginning of 2014, he added.

The bill´s current version, based on the government´s agreement with TOP 09 and the ODS, provides for the Interior Ministry taking over most of the powers of the Civil Service General Directorate, originally a planned new office that was deleted from the bill on the opposition´s insistence.

A special section, headed by a deputy minister for the civil service, will be established at the Interior Ministry.

The bill also makes the civil service more open to people from other branches, which was also demanded by the opposition.

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