- Hans Weber
- December 1, 2023
Czech Pirate Party Members Call for Dismissal of Justice Minister Over Meeting with Pro-Russian Lobbyist
Members of the Pirate Party, a junior coalition partner in the Czech government, have voted in favor of calling on Pirate MPs and ministers to propose the immediate dismissal of Pavel Blazek, a member of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), as justice minister. This call for his dismissal stems from his August meeting with pro-Russian lobbyist Martin Nejedly. In the internal party vote, 545 Pirate Party members participated, with 331 supporting Blazek’s dismissal.
The Pirate Party has also asked its leader, Ivan Bartos, to inquire about the position of the Mayors and Independents (STAN), their ally in the 2021 general election, regarding Blazek’s continued presence in the cabinet. Blazek’s fate now hinges on coalition dynamics and discussions between coalition leaders.
Prime Minister Petr Fiala, who leads the ODS, emphasized that ministerial appointments fall within the purview of the respective coalition parties based on the coalition agreement. He refrained from commenting on internal party processes until informed of the vote results by Pirate chairman Bartos.
This isn’t the first time Blazek has faced scrutiny. In June, the Pirate Party passed a resolution expressing concerns that Blazek’s tenure as justice minister posed a threat to public confidence in justice and the rule of law, as well as the implementation of government policies. These concerns stemmed from alleged conflicts of interest and controversial actions reported by anti-corruption organizations.
While the ODS leader expressed support for Blazek, the situation has raised questions about the stability and cohesion of the coalition government. STAN leader and Interior Minister Vit Rakusan indicated that the ODS is responsible for Blazek’s fate, suggesting that STAN acted in what they believed was the right course of action when one of their ministers, Education Minister Petr Gazdik, left the cabinet last year due to contacts with an accused lobbyist.
The Pirate Party is the smallest party in both the government and the Chamber of Deputies, with just four seats out of 200. Despite their limited representation, they hold three seats in the 18-member government, including the vice-presidency. In contrast, STAN holds 33 seats.
The ODS-led five-party government enjoys a majority of 108 seats in the Chamber. The government comprises the Spolu alliance of ODS, Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), and TOP 09, as well as the STAN-Pirates alliance, formed after the general election held two years ago.
The controversy surrounding Blazek’s meeting with the pro-Russian lobbyist raises questions about transparency and accountability within the Czech government, adding a layer of complexity to the already diverse coalition dynamics.
Article by Prague Forum