Czech Pirate party wants to freeze salaries of elected officials next year

Pirate chairman Ivan Bartoš said the proposal would save more than half a billion crowns from the state budget

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 14.08.2020 09:24 (updated on 14.08.2020)

Prague, Aug 13 (CTK) – The Czech opposition Pirates want to freeze the salaries of deputies, senators and other elected officials for next year in reaction to the expected economic decline caused by the coronavirus pandemic, they said in a press release today.

They want the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament, to debate and vote on this bill in a shortened procedure during its first reading.

Pirate chairman Ivan Bartoš said the proposal would save more than half a billion crowns from the state budget.

Moreover, the Pirates, along with MPs from other parties, are drafting a bill that would relate the politicians’ salaries to the overall development of the economy, not to the average salary in the public sector, which is the case now.

The Pirates intend to start negotiating about their proposal with representatives of other parties in parliament.

In the current system, the salaries of deputies and senators would be automatically raised regardless of the situation of the country’s economy and of sole traders and employees, Bartoš said.

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This is a rapid response to the current situation over the coronavirus epidemic, he added about the proposal.

As soon as the necessary data on the state of the Czech economy are available, the MPs, not just for the Pirates, will submit a bill to change the calculation of the elected officials’ salaries.

“At present, the politicians’ salaries are increased according to the rise in the average pay in the public sector, which, however, does not reflect the state of the whole economy. Besides, this may provoke a suspicion in the public of politicians increasing their own remuneration by raising the salaries of civil servants, teachers and other public employees,” Chamber of Deputies budget committee deputy head Mikuláš Ferjenčík (Pirates) said.

The Pirates failed to push through a similar proposal in the Chamber of Deputies in 2018.

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The junior government Social Democrats (CSSD) said in May that in connection with the expected economic decline, they would propose the lowering of the salaries of ministers, deputies and senators. Their base pay should not exceed the level of five times the minimum wage, the CSSD said.

Some opposition politicians criticised this proposal as populist.

This year, the president’s gross monthly salary is 302,700 crowns, the prime minister and the chairpersons of the lower and upper houses of parliament get 243,800 crowns monthly, deputy prime ministers 209,400 crowns, the monthly salary of ministers and lower and upper house deputy heads is 173,200 crowns, and heads of parliamentary committees, commissions, and delegations get 127,800 crowns. The basic gross monthly salary of a deputy or a senator is 90,800 crowns.

The elected officials’ salaries were raised by about 10 percent, along with other financial perks, in January.

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