Czech upper house votes to impeach President Klaus

The upper house of the Czech parliament impeached outgoing President Vaclav Klaus for treason on Monday, a dramatic but largely symbolic act that nevertheless shows just how deeply the eurosceptic leader angered his left-wing opponents, Reuters reports.

The decision by the Senate, dominated by the left, refers the president to the Constitutional Courtwhich will rule on whether he violated the constitution by granting an amnesty to more than 6,000 prisoners serving short jail terms, as well as for other acts.

The upper house voted 38 to 30 in a closed session to bring charges against the president.

The biggest punishment he faces, if found guilty, is losing office, his presidential pension and the right to stand again in future.

The treason article of the constitution is only applied to presidents, who cannot be prosecuted in any other way for their actions in office. It has never been used before in modern Czech history.

The court is expected to hear the case in the coming weeks.

The amnesty angered most Czechs because it ended the prosecution of many people investigated for economic crimes such as embezzlement.

Klaus rejected accusations he deliberately formulated the amnesty to let serious criminals go.

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