Update: 24.01.2024 01:23
Presented by: 24.01.2024, 01:23
PRAGUE – An hour after midnight, the House of Representatives suspended debate on the coalition's proposal to operate postal elections for Czechs living abroad. The proposal, whose adoption was blocked by the opposition, has so far been debated for about 43.5 hours of pure time. It will continue after night break from 09:00 hrs today, the fifth business day. More than 60 MPs had registered for the debate before the adjournment, with their number reduced to 15 on Tuesday. On Tuesday's meeting day, delegates deliberated for about 12 hours, with the next three hours taken up in breaks.
Tuesday's debate was, as in previous days, marred by clashes between the opposition and coalition over the need to introduce postal voting and compliance with constitutional conditions requiring people to vote in person, freely and secretly. Opposition MPs have repeatedly used two-minute remarks to extend the debate, which is not limited to the 20-minute maximum speaking time of ordinary MPs. They repeatedly pointed out that the Federation was pushing postal elections “by force” as a parliamentary motion.
Over the objections of Interior Minister Vít Rakušan (STAN) ANO MP Berenica Pestova, the postal election was not in the government's plan for legislative work last year, and the cabinet plans to present such a standard a year earlier. Failed. He added that the ramifications of an almost identical proposal had already been discussed in 2019.
The debate between ODS Vice-President Vít Vomáčky and Peštová sparked cheers in the hall. “Every time MP Peshtova speaks, something happens inside me,” the MP admitted. “I know it's hard to please you. Professionally.” Vomáchka added. Pestova then instructed the deputy about the recipe: “If you answer my questions, I will be immediately satisfied.”
Attention was also paid to the words of Ondřej Kolář (TOP 09), who in the past said that if a representative of one of the minorities came to him and gave him 50,000 crowns, he would get the votes of all the members. Society in Prague. “I said, it's not done that way,” Golas said. Some opposition MPs then asked if he had returned to the police and lodged a criminal complaint. ).
Kolar said that even the current voting system does not exclude the risk of election manipulation and Blenda does not guarantee the confidentiality of the election. He pointed out that we all know that votes are bought in this republic. He believes there are more MPs sitting in the caucus who have faced an offer like the one he saw. “I wouldn't say this is an isolated case,” he said. On the contrary, according to Alena Schillerová, head of the ANO club, the Czech electoral system is strong, it has never been fundamentally questioned and there is great confidence in it. “We caution against abusing that trust,” he said.
The opposition accused the coalition of correcting the proposal, which the ruling camp already wants to introduce for the next parliamentary elections in two-and-a-half years. In the last parliamentary election, four-fifths of Czechs voting abroad voted for the ruling party. Radek Koten (SPD) argued with another coalition amendment, which would expand the circle of descendants of immigrants who can obtain Czech citizenship simply by declaration, and thus be able to vote. According to Maria Okotnicka (TOP 09), the project concerns the grandchildren of Czech Jewish children, for example, who were helped by Nicholas Vinton to escape Nazism by emigrating to Great Britain. Long called the reference to Winton's children “underarm.”
The coalition promotes postal elections in line with the government's plan to allow Czechs living in large countries to vote, for whom travel to embassies requires time and money. According to the government, the correspondence option concerns half a million Czech citizens who live abroad for a long time or stay there for study or work.
The Czech Republic is one of the four EU member states in which the correspondence from abroad option cannot be exercised. Apart from the Czech Republic, France, Croatia and Malta have not introduced a simplified option by letter from abroad, while Iceland is among the other European countries. However, in France, it will be possible to vote from abroad via the Internet from 2020.