published: 19.03.2013, 11:37 | updated: 19.03.2013 11:41:36
Prague - Czech President Milos Zeman appointed Vlastimil Picek (unaffiliated, until now first deputy defence minister) to the post of defence minister today.
As the new head of state, Zeman named a new government member for the first time. He ended the three-month period in which Prime Minister Petr Necas (Civic Democratic Party, ODS) was acting defence minister.
Zeman said he wished to Necas that he would be as fortunate in the choice of possible new ministers as in the case of Picek.
During the ceremony, Zeman stressed that he respected Picek, a former chief of staff, as an expert who knew well the problems of the office.
"All of us know that in the past, both leftist and rightist governments, not all defence ministers could be denoted as professionals," Zeman said.
Picek thanked Zeman for his accommodating approach to Necas.
"I am also very glad to be the first minister you will appoint in your election term," Picek said.
Zeman was inaugurated on March 8.
Picek said he would try to fulfil comprehensibly the tasks the ministry would face in 2013-2014.
The next general election is scheduled for mid-2014.
Necas was acting defence minister since last December when he sacked, after a mere eight days in office, Karolina Peake, leader of the LIDEM party, a minor coalition government member.
Peake was against Picek's appointment, arguing that the ministry should not be headed by a former career soldier and a former Communist.
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