Miloš Zeman, Andrej Babiš via Wikimedia / David Sedlecký

Czech President Miloš Zeman will not pardon PM Andrej Babiš in Čapí hnízdo case

Zeman added that Babiš should not resign over the Čapí hnízdo case and that the only reason for Babiš to resign is if he loses in elections

Prague, Dec 5 (CTK) – Czech President Miloš Zeman confirmed he will not apply the abolition instrument in the case of PM Andrej Babiš (ANO) after the Supreme State Attorney renewed Babiš’s prosecution over the Čapí hnízdo case of suspected EU subsidy fraud, Zeman has told the Mlada fronta daily.

Zeman stated he does not see any reason to apply the abolition instrument since the case is to be investigated by the police and state attorney Jaroslav Saroch.

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He added that Babiš should not resign over the Čapí hnízdo case and that the only reason for Babiš to resign is if he loses in elections.

Zeman also reminded that Babiš himself refused the abolition in his case.

“An abolition requires a second signature to come into effect, either from the PM, or from a member of government selected by the PM. If the PM himself refuses the abolition, it is technically impossible to apply it. But, in this specific case, I myself do not see a reason to use the abolition instrument,” Zeman told the daily.

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The president also confirmed that he debated the issue with Babiš over the phone earlier.

In September, Zeman said he would apply the abolition instrument in case the prosecution against Babiš was renewed.

He does not consider that previous statement to be a mistake, he said today.

“Unless I had opened this topic, I cannot eliminate the possibility that the Supreme State Attorney would have passed the case on to a lawsuit. I cannot eliminate that possibility, that is all I am saying,” Zeman said.

He also noted that he no longer sees a need for the abolition because the prosecution against Babiš’s family members was halted.

“And the second point is that (Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman) left the issue in the hands of supervising state attorney Jaroslav Saroch. And, well, the third point is that (Pavel Zeman) called on the police to further investigate the case. An abolition is not here for the president to interfere with the work of the police,” Zeman said.

In an interview on the Barrandov Television today, Zeman said Babiš should only resign if he loses in elections.

“I can assure you that, just like every time, I will name the representative of the victorious party the prime minister,” Zeman said.

Zeman added that he thinks the Supreme State Attorney’s decision will not influence the voter preferences of Babiš’s ANO movement.

“Only a lawsuit would have an impact on the voters,” he told Barrandov TV, adding that he thinks the prosecution of Babiš is taking too long and that the Constitutional Court is still to decide on an administrative action from February 2017, through which he attacked the amendment to the conflict of interest law.

He also said that he considers Pavel Zeman’s decision appropriate.

“Because if he has a feeling that something was missed during the investigation, let it backtrack and continue further. Not even the president can reasonably protest such a decision,” he said.

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Pavel Zeman announced that the prosecution of Babiš is to be renewed on Wednesday. The case will thus continue for Babiš as well as Jana Mayerova, a member of the Farma Čapí hnízdo company. However, the prosecution of Babiš’s family members definitively ended.

Pavel Zeman said that his check of Saroch’s decision uncovered shortcomings in terms of both factual and legal assessments. In this connection, he mentioned an incorrect assessment of evidence and an incomplete evaluation of the European law.

The evidence, Pavel Zeman said, does not provide grounds for halting the prosecution, nor the filing of a lawsuit.

Babiš continues to refuse any debate on the abolition, saying there was no wrongdoing on his part.

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