Political scientists: The rejection of the nomination of Baxa and Zemanová is a message to President Pavlo

> Illustration photo – President Petr Pavel visited the Senate. March 30, 2023, Prague.

Prague – According to political scientists, today's rejection of the nomination of Josef Baxa and Daniela Zemanová for constitutional judges by the Senate Constitutional and Legal Committee is a message to President Petar Pavlov. He thinks that the senators want Pavel to consult with them about his nominations. Primarily, it was not so much about the candidates, because they are not that controversial, political scientist Jan Kubáček told ČTK. Today, the Constitutional and Legal Committee only supported the candidacy of constitutional law professor Jan Wintra.

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Former president of the Supreme Administrative Court (NSS) Josef Baxa, former president of the Judicial Union Daniela Zemanová and Jan Wintr are the first three candidates for constitutional judges that Pavel suggested. The Senate will make a definitive decision on the nominations in a week, which will be preceded by a discussion in the Senate Committee on Human Rights.

According to political scientist Petr Just, it was already clear from the comments of some senators about the candidates that they were touched by the fact that the president was with them he did not consult the nominations in advance. “You could say that they were insulted in quotation marks,” he told ČTK. “And maybe they are taking advantage of the fact that President Pavel is less experienced in domestic political matters, so they are trying to strengthen their influence,” he added.

According to Kubáček, the Senate also sent a signal to Pavlo that he wants to be a “sparring partner” in the negotiation process. “The key message is: Mr. President, consider us, the Senate and especially the constitutional-legal committee, as an important partner and talk with us in advance, perceive our ideas as well,” said Kubáček.

According to him, Baxa still has a chance that the Senate will approve his nomination. “I can imagine that the candidate Baxa has not yet been decided at all, because the difference was very close. With Zemanová, it appears that her mission will be difficult,” he pointed out. Today, only two of the ten committee members present voted for Zemanová, four for Baxa. According to Kubáček, Baxa will now have to introduce himself to the wider plenary in the Senate more intensively, in detail and more actively. “There must have been some deeper problem with Zemanová that she did not convince. Two votes is very little, in a situation where she is not a controversial candidate,” he added.

Just recalled that there were also opinions about the nominations that the candidates little diversity in terms of legal opinions. But that is rather a question for lawyers, he concluded.

The constitutional judge is appointed by the president with the consent of the Senate for ten years, while the constitution does not prohibit the repetition of the mandate. As of May 3, the mandate of the trio Milada Tomková, Jaroslav Fenyk and Jan Filip ended. In total, the terms of office of seven constitutional judges will end this year, including their chairman, Pavel Rychetský.

At the end of March, during a visit to the upper parliamentary chamber, Pavel told senators that he intends to propose to them only such candidates as constitutional judges whose qualities he has no doubts about . When choosing the nominees, Pavel is based on the proposals of more than twenty legal institutions contacted. The proposed names are assessed by a seven-member consultation panel headed by constitutional lawyer Jan Kysela.

In April, after a meeting with the President of the Senate Miloš Vystrčil (ODS) and representatives of the Senate committees, Pavel told journalists that setting the procedure for the nomination of new constitutional judges is for Prague Castle and Senate acceptable. According to Vystrčil, the participants of the meeting fully respect that the nominations are submitted by the president and approved by the Senate. He added that the senators have no reservations about the method of selection.