President-elect Petr Pavel, February 23, 2023.
Prague – President-elect Petr Pavel did not directly say how he would stand on the amendment with the reduction of June's extraordinary pension valuation. After today's approximately one-hour meeting in the Hrzánský palác, the chairwoman of the parliamentary club of the ANO opposition movement, Alena Schillerová, told journalists. The first vice-chairman of ANO Karel Havlíček believes that Pavel wants the dispute between the opposition and the coalition to be resolved by compromise. According to Havlíček, the president-elect perceives the discussion of the amendment in the House of Representatives in a state of legislative emergency as a relatively large risk.
Photo gallery: President-elect Petr Pavel
The House of Representatives will meet on Tuesday, February 28, regarding the controversial government proposal to reduce the June valorization of pensions. ANO and other SPD opposition movements have already announced obstructions. In addition to the proposal itself, they also question the state of legislative emergency, which was declared by the head of the lower chamber, Markéta Pekarová Adamová (TOP 09), at the request of the government, and which is supposed to enable faster approval. If the law is adopted, the opposition legislators are talking about challenging it at the Constitutional Court. The Cabinet justified the request to declare a state of legislative emergency by the threat of significant economic damage.
“Of course he didn't directly say how he would decide, we didn't even expect that,” said Schiller. According to the former head of the state treasury, the most honest solution would be not to approve the law, withdraw it and come up with an amendment to the law on the state budget, or discuss a solution by January 1 next year. She stated that she had substantiated with data from the Ministry of Finance that the country is not at risk of economic damage and that the proposal does not solve the structural deficit, it is only a solution to the fact that Finance Minister Zbyněk Stanjura (ODS) did not count on extraordinary valorization in this year's budget.
According to Havlíček, there was a debate about whether a state of legislative emergency is a suitable instrument for adopting the amendment. He got the impression that Pavel sees it as a relatively big risk. “He realizes that if the Constitutional Court threw it down in the end, it would be a huge embarrassment,” he said. According to him, the president-elect is interested in the matter being resolved through a compromise. Havlíček and Schillerová asked Pavel to ensure that the draft in its current form is not accepted.
“If the government pushes through it and the Constitutional Court overturns it, then the government has only one option, and that is to resign,” added Havlíček. According to the Seznam Zprávy server, however, the cabinet's proposal may already be in the Senate. Although the ruling party has a majority in the upper chamber of the Parliament, some senators from the coalition parties have reservations.
For example, Michael Canov (SLK) considers the matter to be unconstitutional on two levels, in addition to the legislative emergency also due to retroactivity, he told the website. Jiří Čunek (KDU-ČSL) also disagrees with the procedure, other senators are weighing whether a legislative emergency is necessary.
Schillerová also stated that SPD chairman Tomio Okamura wants to meet with her in view of Tuesday's meeting. “I see space, for example, in the coordination of breaks, we each have two hours in the meeting day. We will coordinate the rest in our own way,” she said of the possible form of obstruction. 3 percent and 400 crowns on top of all that, which, according to the reasoning, should slightly favor pensioners with the lowest pensions. The average old-age pension would thus increase according to the documents for the amendment by 760 crowns instead of 1,770 crowns, by which it would increase according to the current rules, taking into account the rate of inflation. The cabinet justified the lower addition by trying to slow down the state's indebtedness.
According to Schillerová, Pavel asked whether the ANO movement was willing to discuss with the coalition, for example, the parameters of the pension reform, to which the head of the club responded positively. According to her, at the end of the meeting, Pavel stated that he would like to meet regularly with the opposition movement, which ANO welcomes.