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Zeman reluctant to dismiss education minister

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Kaplice, South Bohemia, June 12 (CTK) – President Milos Zeman told journalists on Monday that he would only deal with the question of the departure of Education Minister Katerina Valachova (Social Democrats, CSSD) next week, repeating that he was against her leaving the post.

Zeman said he would meet her.

Valachova decided to resign over a scandal with sports subsidies of her deputy Simona Kratochvilova.

Kratochvilova and Miroslav Pelta, Czech Football Association (FACR) head, have been accused of abuse of subsidies for sport.

Valachova announced her resignation at the time when former deputy prime minister and finance minister Andrej Babis (ANO) was reluctant to leave the government on suspicion of tax evasion and influencing the media he owned. Zeman eventually dismissed him on May 24.

At first, Valachova was about to leave the government on May 31.

Zeman asked her to try to change her mind until June 10, when he was to return from his journey to Vietnam and Kazakhstan.

Now he said his meeting with Valachova was scheduled for next week.

Valachova said repeatedly she would not withdraw her resignation.

“I am not any advocate of ministers’ departures five months before the election: This is why I hope that Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD) will not come to see me 14 days before the election with the proposal to sack another minister,” Zeman said.

Sobotka said Zeman should meet the proposed successor to Valachova, Stanislav Stech, as soon as possible and not prolong the time when the ministry was headed by Valachova.

Sobotka said Zeman’s behaviour was wrong and unjustified.

He said there was no objective reason for Zeman to drag his feet and there was no reason from the viewpoint of the constitution either.

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