Friday, 22 March 2019

Poll: Three in five Czechs for president's powers to be preserved

16 April 2018

Prague, April 13 (CTK) - Sixty-one percent of Czechs, the largest number since 2002, are for the current powers of the president to be preserved, while only 15 percent want them extended and 16 percent would like them to be reduced, according to a public opinion poll released by the CVVM agency.

More than 90 percent of the respondents said the president should have the power to grant amnesty. Out of them, 49 percent would leave the decision up to the president, while 42 percent want it to require counter-signing by another political institution.

The opinion that the current powers of the president should be preserved has prevailed in Czech society since the start of similar public opinion polls in 2002.

The portion of those supporting the extension was the largest in 2013, when Milos Zeman, the current president, started his first term in office after winning the first direct presidential election in the country's history.

A restriction of presidential powers had most supporters, 26 percent, in 2015.

Compared with last year's poll, the number of the people believing that the president should have the right to halt court proceedings only with another institution's consent has increased by 3 percentage points to 41 percent.

The number of those saying the president should have the right to grant amnesty or pardon or soften a court sentence has slightly increased as well.

Sixty-two percent of those polled, 4 percent more than last year, said they agree with the president bestowing state awards. One third said they believe the president should do so only with another institution's consent.

Seventy-three percent of the respondents said they wish that the power to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies and call new elections be reserved for exceptional cases defined by the constitution, while 12 percent would leave its application up to the president only.

A half of Czechs support the president's present right to veto laws, which can be eventually overridden by parliament. The alternative solution, or the president empowered to veto laws definitively, is supported by 29 percent of Czechs, the poll showed.

The number of those who want the president to be empowered to appoint Czech National Bank (CNB) governor and board members based on his own choice has slightly increased to 13 percent. One tenth support the opinion that the appointment of the CNB board members should not be within the president's powers at all. Two fifths said the president should appoint the board members on his own but the governor only with the prime minister's consent.

Asked about the president's role in appointing Constitutional Court judges, 42 percent of those polled want him to appoint the judges with another official's consent. About 20 percent wish the president to appoint only a part of the judges on his own, and 15 percent want him to appoint all of them on his own.

The CVVM conducted the poll on 1000 respondents on March 3-15.

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