Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Čuba gives up senator's pay, keeps his seat in upper house

ČTK |
15 June 2017

Prague, June 14 (CTK) - Frantisek Cuba (Citizens' Rights Party, SPO) has decided to give up his pay of a Czech senator over his long absence from the Senate due to a long disease, but he keeps his mandate and wants to perform it from his home ward in south Moravia, he wrote in a letter that SPO head Jan Veleba presented on Wednesday.

Cuba, 81, wants to start attending the upper house's sessions in Prague again after his health condition enables it, he wrote.

Senate chairman Milan Stech (Social Democrats, CSSD), however, reacted saying that Cuba's wage cannot be suspended, in spite of his request.

It is legally unfeasible, Stech told journalists after meeting Veleba.

He said Cuba may donate his pay and senators' bonuses to charity purposes for example, but it would be even more suitable if he gave up his mandate or took sickness leave since he is unable to perform his senator's mandate adequately.

"He should offer a fair solution, either to terminate his mandate or to draw sickness benefits," Stech said.

Veleba said another solution would have to be sought if Cuba's decision showed unfeasible. He, too, mentioned the donation of the money to charity purposes.

By all means, Cuba has been working as a senator for free since Monday, Veleba said.

He said Cuba's decision was praised by President Milos Zeman, who called it "honest and prudent."

Established in 2009 and promoting Zeman and his presidential candidacy, the SPO originally bore the name of The Party of Citizens' Rights - Milos Zeman's People (SPOZ).

It has two senators, Veleba and Cuba, but it is not represented in the lower house of parliament.

Stech challenged Cuba's plan to work from his office in Zlin, his home election ward.

"I do not know about any work he has been doing. The situation is embarrassing. They should think about the theatrical fuss they have made about the issue," Stech said.

Cuba, known as former head of the Slusovice agricultural cooperative that achieved success in the 1980s, was elected senator for six years in late 2014 but he has been absent from Senate sessions for more than nine months.

Last time he participated in the upper house's session on August 24, 2016.

Afterwards, he underwent eye and intestine surgeries.

The critics point not only to his long absence but also the fact that he has continued receiving the senator's pay, including bonuses, worth 122,000 crowns a month without applying for a sickness leave.

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