Earlier this year Czech President Vaclav Klaus
pardoned almost one third of prisoners. Today, Czech lawmakers
in the upper house of parliament voted narrowly to impeach Klaus
for high treason, referring the outgoing president to the
constitutional court, which will rule if the amnesty and other
decisions Klaus made as president were unconstitutional.
From the BBC: ;
The wide-ranging measures were controversial as they resulted in
multiple high-profile corruption cases being suspended.
Mr Klaus’s term as president of the country is due to end on
Thirty-eight senators in the 81-seat house, controlled by the
left-wing opposition, voted to impeach the president, with 30
voting against. Only the Senate has such power in the Czech legal
The worst punishment he faces is the loss of his presidential
job, a role the 71-year-old must relinquish later this week having
served two terms in office.
The opposition is upset that Klaus ended the prosecutions of
some people being investigated for embezzlement. In addition, the
opposition alleges that it was unconstitutional for Klaus not to
ratify some European Union legislation, including the plan to set
up the European Stability Mechanism eurozone bailout fund.
The move is
symbolic; the worst punishment that Klaus could be facing is
being removed from office (his second term as president ends on
Thursday), having his pension withheld, and not being able to stand
for office again.
While Klaus is often regarded as one of Europe’s best know
Eurosceptics and Thatcherite advocate of free trade his record on
economic reform has been patchy at best. Read Matt Welch on Vaclav
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