Zeman says he will interfere in new Czech cabinet´s lineup

Prezident Miloš Zeman.

published: 08.12.2013, 18:34 | updated: 08.12.2013 18:35:20

Prague - Czech President Milos Zeman will interfere in forming the new cabinet´s lineup as he wants ministries to be headed by people with a sufficient expert background, he said in the Talks from Lany interview on public Czech Radio today.

Zeman said he would not appoint any minister who is not competent in the given area. As an example he gave Martin Stropnicky (ANO) in case he were proposed for defence minister.

Speculations about the nomination of Stropnicky, an actor, former theatre director and former diplomat, for defence minister emerged in the media recently.

The Social Democrats (CSSD), who won the October general elections, are conducting government-forming negotiations with ANO, the new movement of billionaire Andrej Babis, and with the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), a minor party in parliament.

"My basic idea is that the government should not be as incompetent as some previous government and some ministers were," Zeman said.

He said the president, along with the prime minister, are co-responsible for the cabinet´s final composition.

The head of state should not dictate what ministries will be controlled by each of the coalition parties. "The president´s task is to see to that no new Karolina Peake appears," Zeman said.

Peake (LIDEM) was deputy prime minister in the previous right-wing cabinet. She held the post of defence ministry for eight days before being dismissed by the then prime minister Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS).

"It is important what post the concrete person should hold. For certain post he/she is quite acceptable. In other post he/she is totally unacceptable, if he/she does not have the expert background and knowledge," Zeman said.

He said he respects Stropnicky as an actor, Prague´s Na Vinohradech Theatre former director and former diplomat, who, however, has nothing to do with the Defence Ministry.

Zeman would not comment on other names that have been mentioned by the media as allegedly unacceptable for him, such as Lubomir Zaoralek and Jiri Dienstbier, the CSSD´s possible candidates for the posts of foreign and justice minister, respectively.

The two are the CSSD´s shadow ministers in charge of the respective areas.

The nascent coalition is now finishing talks on the coalition agreement and the government programme, and it plans to start negotiating the cabinet´s lineup in the second half of December.

The government-forming talks have been led by CSSD chairman Bohuslav Sobotka at Zeman´s request.

Zeman on Thursday said he will appoint Sobotka prime minister-designate after it becomes clear that Sobotka´s potential cabinet is sure of a majority support in the Chamber of Deputies.

The CSSD, ANO and the KDU-CSL together command 111 votes in the 200-seat Chamber.


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