Missile defense treaty lacks support among lawmakers

Kateřina Eliášová, Petr Holub
4. 7. 2008 12:15
The deal is backed by only 97 Czech MPs

Prague - On Tuesday July 8, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will come to Prague to sign the radar base treaty. However, it appears that there are three major glitches that are going to make the signing ceremony less brilliant. 

First, the Poles have not yet finalised the treaty to install US interceptor rockets on their soil. The interceptor rockets would be linked to the tracking radar the US government wants to place in the Czech Republic. 

Second, Czechs are not yet going to sign the treaty that would legalize US army´s presence on Czech soil. 

Last, but not least, the treaty doesn't have enough support in Czech parliament yet.

Read more: First and main treaty on radar approved by government

At the moment, it appears that there are only 97 pro-radar votes from the 200 MPs. There are three Green Party deputies that officially refuse to support the American base.

On top of that, three former Social Democratic (ČSSD) MPs who left the party and supported the governing coalition on some occasions seem to be somewhat hesitant to vote in favor of the radar.

Turncoat issue

One of the run-away  ČSSD MPs, Evžen Snitílý, has officially stated his anti-radar stance.
The remaining two, Miloš Melčák and Michal Pohanka, didn't make it clear when asked by Aktuálně.cz whether they would obey the advice of the former ČSSD leader Miloš Zeman, as they always have in the past.

In April, Miloš Zeman told the Lidové Noviny daily that he would like the Czech government and parliament to refuse the installation of the radar.

"I don't believe it its aimed against Iran. It is aimed against Russia," stated Zeman who retired from politics years ago. He repeated this publicly on numerous other occasions.

PM Topolánek wearing a pro-radar badge
PM Topolánek wearing a pro-radar badge | Foto: Ondřej Besperát

If any of the Social Democratic "turncoats" were to vote for the radar base, they would be politically "excommunicated" by the Czech left for good.

Greens: We will discuss it

Only Petr Wolf, the most recent ČSSD deserter, appears to be willing to support the move. "I am considering the best option for the security of our country. I will know this for certain at the time of voting," he said.

At the same time, four coalition MPs are prepared to vote "no". Three of them are from the Green Party: Věra Jakubková, Olga Zubová and Ondřej Liška.

The leader of the Greens, Martin Bursík, confirmed this, adding that he will suggest a meeting between the "rebels" and NATO Ambassador Füle, Defense Minister Vlasta Parkanová and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.

Four more votes needed

The ruling Civic Democratic Party (ODS) assured it will not try to bypass the rule of absolute majority voting.

Petr Tluchoř, head of the Civic Democratic parliamentary club, said that the first agreement on the radar base may be approved by a simple majority, the other treaty which deals with the presence of foreign troops on Czech soil requires approval by 101 votes out of 200 MPs, as set by the constitution.

"I cannot imagine the main treaty being signed and the other one not. A base which has no troops is useless," explained Tluchoř. 


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