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Czech Senate Requests Treason Charges Against President

March 04, 2013

The Czech Senate approved a motion to file treason charges against President Vaclav Klaus over an amnesty he granted to thousands of convicted criminals and suspects at the start of the year.

The upper house of parliament, controlled by the opposition Social Democrats, approved the request in a ballot today, Senate head Milan Stech told reporters in Prague. The charge will be filed at the Constitutional Court, Stech said.

The Social Democrats, the most popular party in opinion polls and the largest in both houses of the legislature, has criticized the amnesty and demanded the dismissal of Premier Petr Necas, who signed the amnesty. Klaus has said the move was legal.

“The Senate couldn’t remain silent in a situation when the president repeatedly violated the constitution,” Jiri Dienstbier, a Social Democratic senator, said in a televised briefing. “The independent Constitutional Court will have a chance to assess how deep the violation of the constitution by the president was.”

Klaus, the Czech Republic’s highest-profile critic of the European Union and its common currency, will leave office on March 7 when his second and final term expires. Among his most notable acts during 10 years as president was to delay signing the EU’s Lisbon Treaty in 2009.

According to the constitution, presidents found guilty of treason must step down and cannot hold the office again.

The Senate move damages the Czech Republic’s reputation abroad and was motivated “purely by personal animosity,” the CTK newswire quoted Necas as saying today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Laca in Prague at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at

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