New Czech President Petr Pavel announced on Wednesday that he will sign an amendment to the pension law already passed by parliament, according to which in the future, in the event of high inflation, pensions will be indexed much less than before.
According to the head of state, there are several important arguments on the side of the government and the opposition in favor of adopting or rejecting the amendment to the law. “After thinking about everything, I decided to sign the amendment,” Petr Pavel said at a press conference in Prague. However, in his statement, he criticized the government for reacting late to the situation and taking several wrong steps.
President Pavel said he understood the opposition’s reservations that the accelerated amendment would be considered unconstitutional. However, this must be considered by the Constitutional Court. “If the opposition does not appeal to the Constitutional Court for any reason, I will do it,” the head of state said.
“We are disappointed, we thought that Petr Pavel wanted to be the head of state for everyone,” the former finance minister replied. Alena Shilerovaleader of the ANO opposition movement, which discussed the amendment to the law with Karel Havlicek, vice chairman of ANO. “At the same time, we understand that this was a very difficult decision for the president,” she added.
According to the government, reducing the indexation of pensions is necessary in order to stabilize public spending. This year, the state will save 19.4 billion crowns on pensions. However, according to the opposition, the centre-right government side is “stealing” from a defenseless population of more than three million people. The amendment and its accelerated passage are considered unconstitutional, and ANO leaders have already announced they will apply to the Constitutional Court for a review.
President of the Confederation of Czech-Moravian Trade Unions Josef Strjedula announced that a nationwide protest against the decision taken by the government side would take place in Prague at the end of March.
Under the current rules, due to high inflation last year, pensions should be increased by 11.5% in June, but now the increase is expected to be only 2.3%. This will require 15 billion kroons from the state treasury, while according to the current legislation, this item of expenditure would amount to 34.4 billion kroons. And next year, instead of spending 58.8 billion kroons in accordance with the rules in force so far, the state will only have to rely on additional spending in the amount of 15.8 billion kroons.
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