Monday, 24 September 2018

Právo: Pirates want to limit MPs' perks

ČTK |
1 December 2017

Prague, Nov 30 (CTK) - Czech Pirates deputy group chairman Jakub Michalek is planning a draft amendment to limit Czech MPs' allowances, which he considers excessive, and to make MPs' pay dependent on their attendance at work, the Pravo daily wrote on Thursday.

"I think MPs should receive remuneration only in proportion to the time they spend at work or when they are duly excused," Pravo quotes Michalek as saying.

"If they are ill, they should be taking sick pay. They should not have better terms than other citizens of the Czech Republic who go to work," Michalek said.

The current rules in the Chamber of Deputies let deputies report their absence in writing to the Chamber's chairman without anyone verifying if such request is justified, Pravo writes.

Michalek said some deputies and senators did not go to work and earned money in other posts outside parliament in the meantime and that he would like to stop such cumulation of income from posts, Pravo writes.

Michalek also said the current allowance level for phone and Internet use, which makes up to 5,000 crowns for an MP a month, is absurd, since individual Czech ministries are known to have negotiated deals for unlimited telecommunication services for their staff at 150 crowns a month per person, Pravo writes.

Michalek also criticised the allowances for transport, which did not even have to be spent on deputies' actual travel expenses and which make 26,300-39,500 crowns a month depending on the distance of the deputies' home address from Prague, Pravo writes.

Following his election to the Chamber in October, Michalek gave up his pay for the post of a Prague's councillor and is to abandon the post in January.

The Pirates have written in their post-election strategy that their deputies should focus on working in the Chamber full time. Nevertheless, they want to keep in touch with their original profession on a small scale, Pravo writes.

Apart from the ANO movement, other parties that Pravo addressed about this idea do not seem to favour it.

While the ANO movement said they were open to discussing the proposal, Marek Benda (Civic Democrats, ODS), the newly elected chairman of the Chamber's constitutional and legal committee played it down.

Likewise, Jan Farsky (Mayors and Independents, STAN) said he did not know whether it was an essential issue for the Czech Republic to deal with, but if the Pirates thought it was their most important contribution, he would eagerly debate that.

Further debate is expected during the upcoming election of the lower house committees' deputy chairpersons, since in the 17 committees, all except the organisational one, there should be a total of 90 deputy chairpersons elected, a number the Pirates propose to cut by one third, saving up to 25 million crowns on the bonuses for these posts.

Hospodarske noviny (HN) daily notes a recent internal controversy within the Pirate party, which is a newcomer in the Chamber of Deputies.

Some Pirates complained about Michalek due to his secretive withdrawal of a complaint about alleged vote counting errors in the October election with the Supreme Administrative Court (NSS). Michalek is thus allegedly guilty of breaching the main principle of the party - transparency, HN writes.

Due to these motions, the Pirates will be holding an online vote from Friday through Monday on the possibility of dismissing Michalek from the party's chairmanship, HN writes.

When the proposal on the vote was debated, the majority stood up for Michalek, HN writes.

Michalek argued that the complaint was unprofessional and had a false signature of the party's chairman Ivan Bartos on it, HN writes.

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