News

 

Communist Party MP to step down from key post but calls right-wing parties a “democratic cesspool”

 
photo:  (People protest against Zdeněk Ondráček's election to the top post of GIBS, Wenceslas Square, Prague, March 5, 2018, photo: Martina Schneibergová)
 

The election of Communist MP Zdeněk Ondráček as head of the lower house committee overseeing the police proved short-lived. Following demonstrations across the Czech Republic and a motion for his removal, the MP stepped down of his own accord. The question now is whether the Communist Party will rethink planned support for a minority government headed by Andrej Babiš.

 
 

The election of Communist MP Zdeněk Ondráček, a former riot police officer who beat pro-democracy demonstrators in Czechoslovakia in 1989, to the top post of the committee overseeing the police crossed the line for many in the Czech Republic, with thousands showing their discontent in protests this week. Many carried truncheons and jangled keys just as they did in 1989 to mock a politician who has shown no remorse for his past actions.

On Tuesday, with his removal from the post looming, Mr Ondráček told the Chamber of Deputies he would step down. But if anyone expected a sudden change of heart or moral imperative based on his past as a riot police officer in a totalitarian state, they will have been disappointed. In his speech in the Chamber, he said he was leaving for security reasons citing threats to his family.

At the same time, Ondráček pulled no punches when it came to parties in the lower house which had instigated steps against him, calling them “a democratic cesspool” and ultimately he rejected that demonstrations by many people against his election had played a role in his decision. Zdeněk Ondráček:

“I am not stepping down from this post because of a few loudmouths in the street but because of the security threat to my family. When I was a member of the country’s police force I faced all kinds of pressure coming from you [politicians] who I was investigating. But then, [as a member of the force] I was afforded protection for my family.”

MP Ondráček’s party leader Vojtěch Filip criticised what he called a witch-hunt against the politician, expressing disgust over the stated threats; the leader of the Christian Democrats Pavel Bělobrádek said - if true - any such threats were unacceptable:

“We appreciate the response by the public as well as political parties but that of course does not extend to any kind of threats against Mr Ondráček or his safety, which we condemn.”

Tacit support from the Communist Party for a new minority government led by ANO with the Social Democrats appears to be in question following ANO leader Andrej Babiš about face on the election of Mr Ondráček, who was elected in part by ANO MPs.

ANO deputy leader Jaroslav Faltýnek expressed the hope that progress in negotiations would not be scuttled.

“At the moment, I don’t know if it will influence the debate over program demands with the Communists which are almost at an end. I personally don’t think it will but I can’t guess the outcome.”

 
Author: Český rozhlas Radio Praha
 
Added: 07.03.2018
 
 
 

Related articles

 
News
 
 

Czech President, Communist Party...

Prime Minister-designate Andrej Babiš presented his proposed new cabinet line-up to the Czech president...

 
 
News
 
 

Social Democrats remove last hurdle...

After eight months of stalemate the Czech Republic looks set to get a new government capable of winning a...

 
 
News
 
 

Expert on extremism: Intolerance is...

The Interior Ministry this week issued its annual report on extremism, in which it says that ultra-right...

 
 
News
 
 

Critics warn housing benefit cuts...

Plans to cut housing benefits for the socially disadvantaged are in the spotlight ahead of a special...

 
Most favourite

History of Czech fine art

What happened in the realm of fine art at the very beginning of the Czech…

Climate

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country located in moderate geographical…

The most significant current discoveries

During the last decade, Czech science has made many revolutionary discoveries…

Czech language

The Czech language belongs to the group of West Slavic languages. From another…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

 
 

Facebook recent activity