Top-level talks on government crisis rescheduled

02-07-2019 updated

A meeting between Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček and President Miloš Zeman to try to resolve a dispute that could bring down the government has had to be rescheduled due to the protracted EU summit. According to the Office of the President, the meeting which was originally scheduled for Tuesday evening is likely to take place on Thursday.

Jan Hamáček, leader of the Social Democrats, has threatened to walk out of the ruling coalition unless the president complies with his party’s request to remove Antonín Staněk from the post of culture minister and replace him with the party’s nominee Michael Šmarda.

The president has so far refused to do so, despite the fact that the prime minister officially requested the culture minister’s dismissal a month ago. According to the Czech Constitution the president is bound to comply with the prime minister’s request.

Prime Minister Babiš said on Tuesday he would seek to reach a compromise in the dispute in order to preserve the ruling coalition. Unlike the Social Democrats he is against taking legal action against the president.