Lawmakers in the Czech Republic’s Senate have voted to file high treason charges against conservative President Vaclav Klaus over his amnesty of thousands of inmates serving short prison terms.
Senate Speaker Milan Stech said on Monday that legislators in the 81-seat upper house of parliament voted 38-30 to file a motion at the Constitutional Court, The Associated Press reported.
The Constitutional Court is expected to deal with the case quickly, but a verdict will only be issued after several weeks.
The Czech president’s opponents said their goal was not to punish him but to help clarify the rules for the future.
“We want to know how far a president can go,” said Senator Miroslav Antl, who was one of the people who helped draft the motion.
“The Senate was not in a position to be silent,” said Senator Jiri Dienstbier, who will represent the Senate in the court trial. “The Senate fulfilled its duty.”
If found guilty, Klaus would be immediately removed from office — even though his presidential term expires on Thursday — and would be forbidden from ever running again.
He would also lose the state pension of about $5,000 a month that former presidents normally receive.
Meanwhile, Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas condemned the move, calling it “an attack on the country’s reputation.”
“It is purely motivated by personal hatred,” Necas told state-run television.
Earlier, Klaus had said he had no regrets about the decision to give the prisoners amnesty and “would do it again in absolutely the same way.”