Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has sent an official request to President
Miloš Zeman asking him to dismiss Culture Minister Antonín Staněk and to
appoint Social Democratic Party nominee Michal Šmarda in his place.
The prime minister sent the request on Friday morning following a meeting with Mr. Šmarda at which he agreed to support his nomination despite having reservations regarding the party’s choice of successor.
President Zeman, who earlier refused to accept Minister Staněk’s resignation is bound by law to comply with the request, but he said on Thursday that the Constitution did not set any time limit by when he was bound to do so. Constitutional experts agree that he should do so without further delay.
President Miloš Zeman has not accepted the resignation of Culture Minister
Antonín Staněk, the president’s spokesman, Jiří Ovčáček, said in a
press release on Tuesday. The president expressed the view that Mr Staněk
should not be punished for revealing serious economic malpractice at the
Ministry of Culture.
Mr Staněk announced his resignation last Wednesday following pressure from the Czech cultural scene and his own party. He stated publicly that the decision was not made of his own accord, but at the request of Social Democrat leader Jan Hamáček.
Mr. Hamáček has now asked Prime Minister Andrej Babiš to dismiss Culture Minister Antonín Staněk; a decision that the president would have to respect. Staněk is to be replaced by fellow party member Michal Šmarda.
Civic Democratic Party leader Petr Fiala has condemned as “absolutely
unacceptable” a vicious verbal attack against President Zeman and a call
for his elimination by a regional member of the party.
The attack on Facebook was made in reaction to the president‘s support for a law taxing church restitutions.
Fiala said he expected the regional party branch to distance itself from the statement and take steps to ensure there was no repetition of the incident.
The president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said the Office of the President has contacted the police about the matter.
Czech President Miloš Zeman on Thursday attended the celebrations of
Victory Day at the Russian embassy in Prague. In his speech, given in
Russian, the Czech head of state likened Nazism to Islamic terror and
stressed the need to fight against the evil.
Mr Zeman also highlighted the significant role of the Red Army in the liberation of Europe. The event was also attended by former Czech President Václav Klaus, speaker of the lower house Radek Vondráček and several members of the Communist Party.
President Miloš Zeman marked the anniversary of the end of World War II
with a wreath-laying ceremony on Wednesday at the National Monument on
Vítkov hill in Prague attended by Czech veterans.
Among the state officials and politicians in attendance were Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, Senate chairman Jaroslav Kubera and Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, along with military figures such as Defense Minister Lubomír Metnar and Chief of General Staff Aleš Opata.
A pair of Gripen fighter jets flew over Vítkov ahead of the ceremony. The commemorative act was followed by a minute of silence for the fallen.
President Miloš Zeman says Czech or other European politicians who regard
him as an agent of Russia’s Vladimir Putin are “absolute idiots”.
Speaking in an interview with Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency, Mr Zeman
said he had also been accused of being an agent of China and Israel but was
in fact an agent of the Czech Republic.
The Czech head of state said that the European Union lacked a strong leader, by contrast with the US, Russia and China.
Mr. Zeman said he had nothing against a Russian company winning a tender to construct new units at the Czech Republic’s Dukovany nuclear power plant.
President Miloš Zeman has signed legislation enabling the state to tax
church restitutions, according to an official press release from Prague
Castle. Communist deputies say the highly controversial law, which had to
go through a second vote in the Chamber of Deputies in late April after it
was vetoed in the upper-house, could retain CZK 380 million from the annual
CZK 2 billion pay-outs the state has pledged to undertake until 2030.
Opposition parties including the Mayors and Independents and the Christian Democrats are planning to issue a complaint to the Constitutional Court, which they hope will invalidate the legislation.
A group of senators from the Liberal Democratic Caucus – Senator 21 have
completed a constitutional complaint against President Miloš Zeman for
alleged gross violations of the Constitution.
“The aim of the complaint is not to remove the current president from his post but to determine the boundaries of the execution of his mandate,” Senator 21 club’s head, Václav Láska, told the Czech News Agency.
To lodge a complaint to the Constitutional Court, its initiators would need to secure the backing of at least another 21 Senators and 120 deputies of the Lower Chamber of the Parliament.
President Miloš Zeman appointed three new ministers on Tuesday afternoon.
Karel Havlíček became minister of industry and trade, Vladimír Kremlík
took the transport portfolio and Marie Benešová took over at the Ministry
of Justice. All three are the nominees of ANO, the dominant partner in a
coalition government with the Social Democrats.
Mr. Havlíček also became a deputy prime minister, as did the minister of finance, Alena Schillerová.