What can and can’t the president do? What about declaring war, who controls the military

Can the president declare war?
He certainly does not have this authority. He is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, but that has nothing to do with this act. “The Czech constitutional order does not include the institution of declaring war, so the president of the republic cannot drag us into it,” he says constitutional lawyer Jan Kysela. The President is a service authority, has the highest military disciplinary authority, the authority of inspection and grants battalions to military units.

What would it mean if there was a soldier at the head of the state?
Nothing. General displays do not play a role. Presidential powers are determined by the Constitution, not former occupation. “None being dragged into the war not an option. After all, even if a president wanted to do it, he has absolutely no competence to do so. Such a decision would be up to the parliament and the government. But no one is thinking about that, the Czech Republic is not threatened by war,” he emphasized in Thursday’s debate in Deník Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS).

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Who declares martial law?
The Czech constitution enshrines a state of war in the event of an attack on us or the fulfillment of allied obligations. The state of war is decided by both chambers of the Parliament with an absolute majority of votes (101 deputies and 41 senators). The President of the Republic has no role in this decision-making. “The President of the Republic does decide on mobilization, but on the one hand at the proposal and with the approval of the government, on the other hand only during a state of war decided by the Parliament,” explains Kysela.

Can there be foreign troops on our territory?
It is the competence of both chambers of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, in the listed cases of the government. Deputies and senators approve both the sending of military missions abroad and the presence of foreign troops on the territory of the Czech Republic. They must also agree with any crossings of military convoys, as was the case with the movements of American columns. Members of the Army of the Czech Republic served, for example, in Afghanistan, Mali, Sinai or the Baltics. Placing an American radar in Brdy was also considered, but this initiative was terminated by US President Barack Obama. Since then, nothing similar has been on the table, as Prime Minister Petr Fiala points out.

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Article 63 of the Constitution of the Czech Republic
(1) The President of the Republic hereafter
a) represents the state externally,
c) is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces,
g) appoints and promotes generals

(3) The decision of the President of the Republic issued pursuant to paragraph 1 requires the co-signature of the Prime Minister or a member of the government authorized by him to be valid.

(4) The government is responsible for the decision of the President of the Republic that requires the co-signature of the Prime Minister or a member of the government authorized by him.

Who controls the army?
He is the Chief of the General Staff of the ACR, which he is currently General Karel Řehka. He is appointed and dismissed by the president based on the proposal of the government. “The President of the Republic does not control the army, he only has more influence on the castle guard, but even there the head of the Military Office of the President of the Republic controls it. The volume of funds for the operation and arming of the armed forces is determined by the law on the state budget, which is prepared by the government and approved by the Chamber of Deputies,” says Jan Kysela.

Does the president influence the shape of the Army of the Czech Republic?
In a way, yes. For example, it is customary for him to speak at command meetings. Miloš Zeman never missed this opportunity. He has always pushed for the fulfillment of the obligation to spend two percent of GDP on defense. He also supported military missions and the modernization of the army.

The president also appoints and promotes generals, at the suggestion of the government. For soldiers, it usually happens without complications. As is known, Miloš Zeman refused seven times to appoint the head of the Security Information Service as a general Michal Koudelka. He did not even listen to the proposal for the promotion of Tomáš Landsfeld, the director of the Regional Police Administration in Olomouc.

The article is in Czech

Tags: president declaring war controls military

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