Prague, Feb 1 (CTK) – Vladimir Krulis, 36, became the new head of the protocol department of the Presidential Office, having replaced Miroslav Sklenar, President Milos Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek told journalists on Thursday.

Krulis was deputy head of the director of the protocol department.

Sklenar took up the office after Jindrich Forejt in December 2016.

Sklenar already worked in the post under former president Vaclav Havel and former president Vaclav Klaus.

He also worked in the department under Zeman. Some say he had disputes with Forejt.

In 2015, Sklenar gave a notice and left for the China Energy Company Limited (CEFC) branch. The Chinese firm is believed to have close ties with the Presidential Office. Its board chairman Ye Jianmin became an aide to Zeman in 2015.

Sklenar was only acting head of the protocol department. He said from the beginning that he was only executing the post temporarily.

Krulis is very close to Zeman as he was active in the extra-parliamentary Citizens Rights Party (SPO) Zeman founded.

In 2016, he ran for the SPO in the regional election in the Zlin Region, but was not elected.

He also worked as the SPO deputy chairman.

In 2013, some media wrote about Krulis’s close relationship with Zeman’s daughter from his second marriage, Katerina Zemanova.

Last May, Krulis had a car accident when driving as a fellow passenger in a police car and he was seriously injured.

The accident was investigated by the police inspection that concluded that no crime had been committed. The civilian’s presence in the police car was reportedly permitted by the director of the South Moravia police, Leos Trzil.