New Czech police chief to be chosen in competition - minister


05.02.2014 13:56

Prague - A new president of the Czech police will be chosen in a competition and present police president Petr Lessy will leave his post by February 28, new Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD) announced today.


Ministr vnitra Milan Chovanec (vpravo), Petr Lessy a Martin Červíček (vlevo) vystoupili 5. února v Praze na tiskové konferenci k řešení situace ve vedení policie. ČTK Kamaryt Michal

This solution to the uneasy situation of the Czech police that had two chiefs for a time, Lessy and Martin Cervicek, was expected.

Neither Lessy nor Cervicek will take part in the competition for a new police chief, they confirmed today.

Until the appointment of a new president, the Czech police will have a temporary head. The person has not been named yet, Chovanec said.

Lessy said the police would be headed by deputy president Tomas Tuhy as of February 15.

Former interior minister Jan Kubice (unaffiliated) dismissed Lessy as police chief in summer 2012 over a criminal prosecution that was launched against Lessy. Lessy was replaced with Cervicek.

Some media challenged the prosecution then, noting that a criminal prosecution was the only way Kubice could get rid of Lessy, with whom he did not cooperate well and whose sacking he demanded but had no right to order it.

Kubice´s successor Martin Pecina (ex-CSSD) reinstated Lessy as police chief in December 2013 after Lessy was acquitted of all charges, but Cervicek refused to give up the post. The police therefore had two chiefs for a time. In early January, Pecina sacked Cervicek.

Chovanec was appointed interior minister on January 29, along with the rest of the coalition government of Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD). Even before his appointment, Chovanec met both Lessy and Cervicek in order to seek a solution. He said then he would like a new police chief to be selected in a competition.

Apart from special cases, the Czech interior minister is not empowered to dismiss the police president.

Cervicek said he insists on his complaint against his dismissal, although he said his mission as police president ended a month ago when he was dismissed.

Chovanec said he had no favourite for a new police chief.

He said he expected the new chief to be selected by April or May.

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