President-Elect Pavel To Use Hrzan Palace Ahead of Inauguration

The Hrzan Palace is a representative building of the government and the prime minister, who receives foreign visitors there. Photo credit:   

Prague, Jan 31 (CTK) – Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) has agreed to a request from the team of president-elect Petr Pavel to be allowed to use the government-owned Hrzan Palace near Prague Castle until his inauguration, the PM told yesterday.

Fiala said he considered it practical for the future president to live close to Prague Castle before he officially takes up the position on 9 March.

Since yesterday, Pavel has been accepting guests in the Hrzan Palace, and his whole team has moved there, according to Pavel’s communication manager Marketa Rehakova, speaking to CTK.

“Usually, the newly elected president is allowed to use part of Prague Castle,” Rehakova said. “Nobody from the castle has contacted us on this matter yet and so we took the opportunity to temporarily reside in the Hrzan Palace, which is representative enough for the purpose of meetings with the top constitutional representatives, as well as foreign media.” 

“The president has been accepting visitors in the Hrzan Palace since Tuesday, and his whole team has moved along with him,” she added. The location was chosen partly based on the recommendation of the security service of the Czech police, which monitors the area.

The Hrzan Palace on Loretanska is a representative building of the government and the prime minister, who receives foreign visitors there. After Fiala was appointed prime minister in 2021, he used the building before the ministers of his cabinet were named.

Fiala repeated that the campaign of Pavel’s opponent, leader of the opposition and former PM Andrej Babis, had been unacceptable, and had crossed the line by spreading lies and arousing fear among citizens, including children.

“It is natural that we are worried about our close ones, but it is unacceptable to misuse it,” Fiala said, stressing that the Czech Republic can rely on the collective defence of NATO, whose members would help each other in case of attack, as well as on the professional Czech army.

He also said that Babis’s call for people to bet on his victory in the election because of the advantageous odds had been extremely unethical. He said it was typical for Babis and his allies not to admit that this was “over the line.”

Czech Television reported yesterday that the Finance Ministry would investigate whether Babis’s call, posted on Twitter, had violated the law on the promotion of gambling.

Fiala said he believed Pavel could calm and unite society, and that he would promote decency, dignity and respect for the constitution.

“We might all realise what a change it is after Milos Zeman has held the post for ten years,” Fiala added.

The prime minister also said he would meet with the outgoing president on Sunday for their regular meeting, adding that communication between the prime minister and the president is necessary despite him and Zeman having completely opposing views on many matters, and probably representing different groups of voters.

The government plans to propose to the new president the promotion of the director of the BIS counter-intelligence agency, Michal Koudelka, to the rank of general. The outgoing president was very critical of both Koudelka and BIS, and refused to promote him.

“I think it is the rectification of the injustice there has been, and a clear signal that the new head of state, in cooperation with the government, takes the security services and secret services seriously,” said Fiala, explaining the proposal.

Pavel said on Monday, after meeting Koudelka, that he intends to promote him to general as soon as possible.

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