Zeman's presidency will end with the lowering of the standard and the closing of the castle gate

Zeman's presidency will end with the lowering of the standard and the closing of the castle gate

The Presidency of Zeman will be closed, the standards will be withdrawn and the castle gates will be closed

Czech President Miloš Zeman (pictured on December 7, 2022).

Prague – The mandate of President of the Republic Miloš Zeman will end at midnight on March 9 with the ceremonial act of hanging the presidential standard. Subsequently, as a sign of the vacancy of the presidential office, the Giants' Gate of Prague Castle will also be closed. It will be unlocked again on Thursday morning, when Petr Pavel comes to the Castle to make a solemn vow. The outgoing director of the castle protocol, Vladimír Kruliš, told ČTK.

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President Zeman's second term ends at midnight on Thursday. The Czech Republic will have a new president only on Thursday afternoon, after Pavel takes the presidential oath in the Vladislav Hall. Until then, the possible powers of the head will primarily belong to Prime Minister Petar Fial (ODS), the rest will be shared by Senate President Miloš Vystrčil (ODS) and Speaker of the House of Representatives Markéta Pekarová Adamová (TOP 09).

Zeman's mandate will symbolically end with the withdrawal of the President of the Republic's trains, or standards. It flies over Prague Castle when the head of state is in the Czech Republic. According to Kruliš, when the standard is lowered, the Music of the Castle Guard will play the national anthem in the first courtyard of the Prague Castle, and the Gate of the Giants will be closed to mark the vacancy of the presidential office. It will remain closed until the following morning, when President-elect Petr Pavel and his family will be the first to pass through it to the sound of the Standarta fanfare. “The commander of the Castle Guard will welcome him in the first courtyard with a report of readiness, historical banners held by ensigns of the Castle Guard will also be present,” said Kruliš. Pavel will walk through the courtyard to Matyáš's gate, where he will enter the Castle via Pacassi's ceremonial staircase.

Even before taking the vows, the incoming president will have lunch in the Golden Dining Room, which according to Kruliš is the original harp lounge that was part of Masaryk's representative apartment with his wife Eva with the outgoing president Zeman and his wife Ivana.

Pavlo's inauguration will traditionally begin in the Vladislav Hall at 14:00 at a joint meeting of the House of Representatives and the Senate. It will begin with the arrival of the highest constitutional officials in the hall, to the sound of the Coronation Intrada fanfare, together with Vystrčil, Pekarová Adamová and Fiala, the President of the Constitutional Court Pavel Rychetský and his wife Helena will also arrive. They will be followed by the Intráda No. 4 fanfare, Zeman and his wife, his predecessor Václav Klaus and his wife Livia and Dagmar Havlová, the wife of the first Czech president Václav Havel, who will be accompanied by the Chief of the Military Office of the President of the Republic, Jan Kaše.

According to ČTK, the officers of the Castle Guard will then bring the insignia of the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and the Order of the White Lion to the hall on blue cushions, at the same time a copy of the Constitution of the Czech Republic will be brought. Before the arrival of Pavel and his wife, ensigns from the Castle Guard will bring historical ensigns to the sound of the Hussite chant Who are God's warriors. Pavlo's arrival will be accompanied by a fanfare, the Festive Intrada. The honor guard will be the last to bring the state flag and the presidential standard into the hall, at that moment the musicians will play a fanfare for the fourth movements of Symphony No. 8 by Antonín Dvořák.

Pekarová Adamová will open the meeting of deputies and senators with an opening speech. At her invitation, Pavel then goes to the table on the stage, and at the same time Vystrčil. Pavel places his hand on the constitution, recites the promise and confirms it by shaking Vystrčil's hand. At the table, he signs a document with the text of the promise. For this occasion, the Chamber had a special pen made.

After the pledge, the anthem will be played, during which soldiers from Petřín will fire 21 cannon salvos. At the same time, a standard will be hoisted over Prague Castle. This will be followed by a speech from the new president. After taking away the historical banners, flag and standard, Pavel and his wife will leave to the sound of a fanfare from the Libuše opera, followed by the former president and constitutional officials.

After the inauguration, Pavel will greet the public from the balcony in the third courtyard, then go to the first courtyard, where Chief of the General Staff Karel Řehka will report to him. Through a wall of battle banners, Pavel reaches the statue of the first Czechoslovak president Tomáš Garrigua Masaryk, where he places a flower. He will then greet the fans present and go to the Spanish Hall, where a glass of wine will be held for about 2,500 invited guests. Paul will have an opportunity to speak to them. This will be followed by a performance by members of the former group Spirituál kvintent.

The last part of the festive program is a prayer in the chapel of St. Wenceslas in the Cathedral of St. Vitus and a concert by the Prague Philharmonic in the nave of the cathedral.