President under fire for refusing to appoint Šmarda culture minister


President Miloš Zeman has come under fire for refusing to appoint the Social Democratic Party’s nominee Michal Šmarda culture minister and thereby deepening the drawn-out government crisis. Both the Social Democrats of the ruling coalition and right-wing opposition parties are calling on Prime Minister Andrej Babiš to act and ensure that the constitutional order in the country be respected.

Deputy Marian Jurečka from the Christian Democratic Party said on Thursday he would take steps to initiate an emergency session of the lower house to debate legal action against the president if the prime minister fails to deal with the situation within a week. The Czech Senate voted in favour of a constitutional complaint against the president’s actions last week but the complaint would have to win support from 120 deputies in the lower house for it to be reviewed by the Constitutional Court.

The leader of the Social Democrats, Jan Hamáček said on Wednesday that his party is standing behind its nominee and will not consider other candidates for the post. He has threatened to quit the ruling coalition over the president’s reluctance to respect the party’s wishes.

Under the Czech constitutional order the president is bound to accept the prime minister’s request for the dismissal of a given cabinet minister as well as the nominee chosen to replace him.