Social Democrats chairman Jan Hamáček says that President Miloš Zeman communicated that he is ready to accept the resignation of Culture Minister Antonín Staněk by July 31 and will await the result of the Social Democrat leadership meeting on Monday in regard to who Mr. Staněk's successor will be. The statement was made after a joint meeting between the three men at the president's Lány residence on Friday.
Mr. Hamáček reaffirmed his intention to replace the Social Democrat minister with fellow party member Michael Šmarda and said he expects the party leadership to confirm this decision. However, he admitted that the president did not give a clear statement that he will respect the decision of the Social Democrat leadership.
Antonín Staněk confirmed his party leader's statement, saying that both of them understood the president had agreed to his resignation. Mr. Hamáček said that the alternative conclusion to the Monday Social Democrat meeting would be that his party will resign from government.
Mr. Šmarda has been the party's proposed replacement for some time already since the current culture minister announced his resignation in May. Despite this, the president has until now refused to accept the resignation and, according to Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who met with him on Thursday, does not have a good opinion of Mr. Šmarda.
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