Meeting of the Chamber of Deputies – illustrative photo.
Prague – The opposition ANO and SPD this evening stalled the discussion of the electoral reform, including the senate's proposal for postal voting for Czechs living abroad. At the same time, they postponed for the third time the dismissal of Daniel Köppl from the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting (RRTV), even though the coalition wanted to enforce it even at the cost of an evening meeting of the lower house. However, in the early evening, shortly before the discussion of these points, the opposition movements together requested a four-hour break in the meetings of their factions. Chairperson Klára Dostálová (ANO) then, in accordance with the rules, adjourned the meeting until Wednesday morning.
Radim Fiala, chairman of the SPD deputies, justified the break by the movement's disagreement with the senate's proposal to introduce postal elections for expatriates. Similarly, the president of the ANO club, Alena Schillerová, wanted a break due to the movement's reservations about some electoral changes.
Even before the electoral reform was proposed, the Chamber of Deputies should have dealt with Köppl's dismissal from RRTV. The inclusion of that point was promoted by the head of ODS deputies, Marek Benda, as part of the changes to the program. “I would like to inform you right away that we would complete this point today, even if we act after 19:00 or 21:00,” he said. The initiator of this proposal, the pirate vice-president of the lower chamber, Olga Richterová, was convinced that the House of Representatives would remove Köppl from the so-called big broadcasting board today even before the start of the day. However, the opposition breaks, which went beyond the end of the business day, ruined these plans.
Köppl's dismissal was recommended by the parliamentary election committee due to a conflict of interests. Among other things, Köppl was associated with the election team of the presidential candidate, ANO chairman Andrej Babiš. According to the committee, he acted against impartiality and independence. Köppl defended himself by saying that he had not broken the law. He intends to defend himself against a possible appeal in court.
The proposal for Köppel's appeal draws attention not only to the television appearances in which he was identified as a member of Babiš's marketing team, but also to the payment he received last year from the transparent account of the ANO movement. The document also mentions the contracts that the Chamber of Deputies signed with Köppel last year and related to work for the deputy chairman of the lower chamber, Karel Havlíček, and MP Jana Pastuchová (both YES).
“Based on the above facts, the Chamber of Deputies is convinced that Daniel Köppl has committed an act that clearly violates his impartiality and independence, or rather calls into question the trust in the impartiality and independence of the council as a whole,” reads the proposal. The Law on Radio and Television Broadcasting states that council members may not hold positions in political parties or movements and speak in their favor. senate, municipal and regional elections and more affordable issuing of ID cards for people who cannot vote at their place of permanent residence.