Both the Civic Democrats (ODS) and the Social Democrats (ČSSD) are going to the [Brno-based] Constitutional Court. The ČSSD has already filed a complaint against the government's finance reform, and the ODS wants the court to examine the new EU treaty and say if it is compatible with the Czech constitution.
If the politicians' message is, „We don't want to decide everything alone, let's give a say to a respected and politically independent institution,“ it is good news – it would mean a step towards a better political culture. So far, politicians have not regarded the Constitutional Court as what it is and should be, namely a check against their mistakes and one of the tools to protect democracy.
In the case of the EU treaty, [turning to the Constitutional Court] is common in Europe. Spaniards and Germans, for example, asked their constitutional courts to examine previous draft of the treaty, while Danes and the Dutch enquired about how they should ratify it.
A key test, however, will come when the court delivers a verdict. Unlike in Germany – where, according to distinguished legal expert Zdeněk Kühn, „The findings of the Constitutional Court, even very controversial ones, are always respected“ – in the Czech Republic politicians often comment on or criticise the rulings. (President Václav Klaus talked about „a threat to democracy“ when the Constitutional…