State of emergency: Hamáček calls opposition MPs 'hypocrites, irresponsible lunatics'

Deputy Prime Minister lashes out against lack of support for extension among MPs, parties lay out their demands, reasons for opposition.


Written by ČTK Published on 09.12.2020 16:12:00 (updated on 09.12.2020) Reading time: 3 minutes

Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček (CSSD) said today he considers politicians who refuse to prolong the state of emergency in the Chamber of Deputies 'hypocrites or irresponsible lunatics'.

"The state of emergency provides the cabinet with a legal framework for combating the COVID pandemic, without it we will be powerless, Hamáček told reporters in the Chamber of Deputies today. According to him, the opposition has the right to criticize specific measures, but it should not question the legal framework through which they work.

Hamáček said that from the last vote of the Chamber of Deputies on November 19, practically nothing has changed from a pandemic point of view.

"The state of emergency is only a legal framework that allows the government to fight the epidemic effectively," he said. According to him, the opposition cannot explain how it would announce measures against the spread of the virus if it should do without a state of emergency.

They have a right to criticize specific measures, but not to break the legal framework that allows them, Hamáček added.

The extension of the state of emergency does not have the support of the opposition. Members of TOP 09 have already announced that they will not support the extension of the state of emergency today. ODS has signaled they probably won't either, but its parliamentary group will still act. KDU-ČSL wants a possible partial extension, with an increase in the compensation bonus for self-employed persons to CZK 20,000 per month.

"We will certainly not agree to support the extension of the state of emergency by 30 days," said KDU-ČSL Chairman Marian Jurečka. The party would consider a shorter extension with the compensation bonus until the end of January, increasing it to CZK 20,000 per month. The bonus for self-employed persons is currently 500 crowns a day for limiting their business due to the coronavirus crisis.

"The negotiations of the parliamentary group are ahead of us, I am convinced that ODS will no longer support the extension of the state of emergency," said Petr Fiala, chairman of the Civic Democrats.

According to Hamáček, if the request for another state of emergency in the Chamber of Deputies fails, those who reject it will have full responsibility for the state of emergency. "To do this, we need adequate tools," he said. He called for politicians not to focus on politics and finding cheap points on this topic.

"For TOP 09, I can say that there is definitely no extension of the state of emergency in the game," said TOP 09 boss Markéta Pekarová Adamová. She considers the material that the government has provided to the Chamber of Deputies after repeated requests for extensions to be a bad joke. According to Jurečka, the cabinet has failed to address the causes, tracing or testing system, but only the consequences.

According to Monday's statement by the Pirates and the Mayors and Independents Movement (STAN), the government is not doing what the lower house of parliament called for in its resolution. He cannot count on STAN's votes for a further extension of the state of emergency, said the chairman of the movement, Vít Rakušan. Pirates say they would support the extension further if ANO and CSSD commit to solving some of the problems with it, said party leader Ivan Bartoš.

The House has already voted twice to extend the state of emergency. At the end of October, it agreed to extend it by 17 days and in November by 22 days. The ruling coalition was always pushing for 30 days each time. In the spring, the emergency measures in the Czech Republic due to the coronavirus crisis lasted 66 days, currently it is at 68 days.

SPD chairman Tomio Okamura told reporters today his party will not support the extension either. In the opinion of the SPD movement, the cabinet already had enough time to prepare an amendment so that a state of emergency would not be necessary to declare measures against the pandemic, he said.

According to Okamura, the cabinet should focus on measures in outbreaks and the protection of vulnerable groups. He cited an analysis according to which about 17 percent of the population of the Czech Republic belong to these groups. "The remaining 83 percent are not at risk, let the others live and work," Okamura said.

Therefore, the SPD will not support the continued duration of the emergency, he added.

"The government had enough time to prepare and approve an amendment to the Public Health Protection Act so that it could declare anti-pandemic measures as needed, without declaring a state of emergency," he added.

The Chamber of Deputies is expected to vote on the extension later today.

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