In response to the controversial pardons granted by President Václav Klaus on Valentine’s Day, the largest opposition force, the Social Democrats (ČSSD), announced Friday that it will put forward a bill whereby presidential pardons will have to be countersigned by the prime minister or a minister. The ČSSD’s deputy leader Lubomír Zaorálek says the president’s current powers are a “relic” from the communist era.
The server Motejlek.com reported Thursday that President Václav Klaus’ wife, Livia, has viewed a house in Prague’s up-market Hradčany district valued at between Kč 65 million and Kč 100 million. With his official income and also earnings from his books Klaus would not have nearly enough money to purchase such a property. There’s speculation that the richest Czech Petr Kellner may foot the bill.
The Social Democrats (ČSSD) are calling on President Václav Klaus to resign over his recent decisions to pardon convicted fraudsters and consider granting clemency to another with links to organized crime figures, Aktuálně.cz reports, citing sources from the center-left party’s deputies group. Party deputy chairman Lubomír Zaorálek said Klaus should release more detailed information on how his decisions, saying, “If not, further steps will be necessary.”
Police wiretaps show that a former Metropolitan University Prague (MUP) director convicted last year of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of trust — pardoned by President Václav Klaus last week for “humanitarian” reasons and because she had “been punished enough” — spoke by phone with his wife so often it aroused investigators’ suspicions, the daily Lidové noviny reports.
President Václav Klaus has denied a report he may have granted a pardon to the former director of a private university earlier this week because she was an “acquaintance” of his wife. He said he was unaware until today that she had taken part in an event presided over by former Metropolitan University Prague (MUP) director Anna Benešová, convicted last year of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of trust.
A change many thought would not happen is now firmly on course, direct elections of the Czech head of state. The upper house of parliament, the Senate, gave the change sufficient backing late Wednesday in spite of worries expressed that it is a jump in the dark which upsets the country's constitutional balance and creates grounds for even more stand-offs between president, prime minister and parliament.
Czechs are famously liberal as for infidelity, with having a mistress “generally considered a sign of a real man.” So the timing of the tabloid Aha! report showing President Václav Klaus with a blonde airline hostess — with whom he has a “special relationship” — could not have been better in terms of bolstering his manly image: A gay magazine editor last week claimed Klaus is a closeted homosexual, as has long been rumored.