Zeman may veto civil service bill if passed in present version


16.08.2014 15:13

Prague - Czech President Milos Zeman is likely to veto the civil service bill if the parliament passes it in the version agreed on by the government and the right-wing opposition, which includes political deputy ministers with high pay and little to do, Zeman´s spokesman told CTK today.


Prezident Miloš Zeman vystoupil 8. července v Praze na briefingu k úmrtí českých vojáků v Afghánistánu. ČTK Šulová Kateřina

Zeman told Parlametnilisty.cz news server that he would decide on the bill depending on whether it introduces the posts of 30 political deputy ministers who would do nothing and receive high salaries.

If the parliament passes the bill in the present form, "the veto seems very probable to me," Zeman wrote on his profile on the server in reaction to a question on Friday.

He wrote that he believes political parties will be reasonable enough not to try to secure such posts for its incapable politicians.

Zeman said earlier this week that the civil service law should not keep the positions of "political" deputy ministers and the abolition of the Civil Service General Directorate is a mistake.

He said he would propose a change to the bill concerning the deputy ministers, while he was ready to accept the general directorate.

The agreement on the civil service law, reached by the centre-left government and the opposition Civic Democrats (ODS) and TOP 09, will not be withdrawn despite Zeman´s criticism, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said in reaction.

Sobotka said further talks on the bill would postpone its adoption, which would delay the drawing of EU funds.

The Czech Republic pledged that the civil service law would be effective as of January 1, 2015.

The ODS and TOP 09 argued that the general directorate would too much strengthen the role of the civil service in the balance of powers. Most of the powers would therefore move to the Interior Ministry and a new post of deputy interior minister for civil service will be created.

Minister Jiri Dienstbier (CSSD), who drafted the original bill, said he would not work on it anymore after the abolition of the general directorate was agreed on.

The opposition Communists (KSCM) and Dawn of Direct Democracy also had reservations about the bill.

Czech lawmakers are to draft a comprehensive modification of the civil service bill by August 25.

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