Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Dailies mention Kmoníček, Gerloch as possible new ministers

ČTK |
3 November 2017

Prague, Nov 2 (CTK) - Hynek Kmonicek, the ambassador to the USA, Jan Beroun, Military Intelligence chief, renowned economist Jan Svejnar and constitutional lawyer Ales Gerloch are mentioned as possible members of the nascent Czech cabinet of Andrej Babis by daily newspapers on Thursday.

President Milos Zeman assigned Babis, leader of the election-winning ANO movement, to negotiate on forming a government on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Babis said he already knew the personnel filling of up to eight ministerial posts and was still seeking experts to head the Industry and Trade Ministry, the Culture Ministry, the Education Ministry, among others.

The new cabinet is to include five ANO ministers who were part of the previous cabinet. Richard Brabec, Robert Pelikan and Dan Tok are to keep their posts of the ministers of environment, justice and transport, respectively. Karla Slechtova, who was regional development minister in the previous term, is reportedly eyeing the post of the defence minister, from which ANO's Martin Stropnicky is to switch to either the Foreign Ministry or the Culture Ministry, Czech Television (CT) has reported.

According to daily Lidove noviny (LN), the post of foreign minister might go to Kmonicek, while Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) also mentions Jan Kohout, former foreign minister in two interim cabinets, and says Slechtova, too, has shown interest in it.

Beroun might be a minister of interior or defence, LN writes.

MfD says further potential candidates for defence minister are Deputy Chief-of-Staff Ales Opata, Deputy Defence Minister Daniel Kostoval and Miroslav Zizka, former Czech military representative at NATO and the EU.

Former chief-of-staff Jiri Sedivy has declined the offer, writes daily Pravo.

According to recent speculations, the new interior minister may also be Martin Pecina, who held the post in two interim cabinets in the past.

CT reported that Babis is also considering filling the post with Jana Vildumetzova, the present governor of the Karlovy Vary Region.

If vacated by Slechtova, the post of regional development minister may go to her deputy Klara Dostalova.

The Finance Ministry may be entrusted to Svejnar, a renowned professor of economy, or Alena Schillerova, a present deputy finance minister.

Babis has offered the Industry and Trade Ministry to Brabec, who reportedly declined it, LN writes, mentioning billionaire and ANO lawmaker Pavel Juricek as a candidate for minister.

Karel Havlicek, head of the Association of Small and Medium Sized Businesses (AMPS), told CTK on Thursday that he has declined Babis's offer for him to be industry and trade minister.

In an interview with CT, Babis said the candidate for agriculture minister is Miroslav Toman, head of the Czech Food Chamber who held the post in an interim cabinet in 2013.

LN says ANO lawmaker Karel Turecek has a chance of gaining the post.

The Education Ministry might go to Gerloch, a professor of constitutional law, or ANO lawmaker Ivo Vondrak, who is the governor or Moravia-Silesia and former rector of the Mining University in Ostrava.

The post has reportedly been rejected by Brno's Masaryk University Rector Mikulas Bek, who has recommended the nomination of current Deputy Education Minister Robert Plaga.

The Health Ministry might be headed by ANO lawmaker and Babis's adviser Adam Vojtech, the dailies write.

They mention Ivo Medek, rector of the Janacek Academy of Performing Arts in Brno, as a candidate for culture minister, but Medek told journalists on Thursday that he has declined the offer.

According to Pravo, the same offer has also been declined by Nada Goryczkova, director of the National Heritage Institute (NPU).

The post of labour and social affairs minister might go to Vildumetzova, Central Bohemian official Jaroslava Nemcova, head of a north Bohemian labour office Martina Becvarova (all ANO) or former Czech Labour Office head Marie Bilkova.

The outgoing cabinet of the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) has 17 seats. Babis said he plans not to fill the post of the minister for human rights and legislation.

It ensues from political parties' reactions that Babis's one-colour government including unaffiliated experts, is unlikely to gain lawmakers' confidence. If so, President Milos Zeman would task Babis to form a cabinet for the second time, he said earlier this week.

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