Prague, Dec 6 (CTK) – Jindrich Forejt, head of the Czech Presidential Office Protocol Department, has resigned for personal and health reasons and he will leave the post at the end of the year, President Milos Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek told CTK yesterday.
Ovcacek said that Forejt’s request to end his work contract had been given a consent.
Forejt is one of closest aides to Zeman who has repeatedly stood up on his behalf.
“Jindrich Forejt gave up the post of head of the Czech Presidential Office Protocol Department yesterday, on December 6, 2016, for personal and health reasons,” Ovcacek said.
“He asked for the termination of his work contract by agreement, which is to take effect on December 31,” Ovcacek added.
Speculations about Forejt’s forthcoming downfall started surfacing on Friday evening.
Ovcacek first declined to comment on the information, arguing that the news was only based on anonymous sources.
According to the media, Forejt’s office was sealed.
The Presidential Office Protocol Department was recently implicated in some disputable situations.
In mid-October, Zeman was late for the funeral of former Slovak president Michal Kovac, for which Forejt may have been blamed.
On November 11, Zeman apologised to U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic Andrew Schapiro for the information that Schapiro was absent from the October 28 national holiday celebration at Prague Castle.
The news was broken by the Protocol Department. It eventually turned out that Schapiro was at the ceremony.
Forejt also featured in the controversy over the decoration that was not given to Holocaust survivor Jiri Brady on October 28. While Brady says he was promised it, Forejt denied this.
Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) said Zeman told him he would not award his relative Brady with the Order of T.G. Masaryk on the national holiday if Herman met the Tibetan Dalai Lama.
Zeman denied the allegation.
Last September, the U.N. flag was hoisted in a room of the Presidential Office instead of the NATO flag during a visit by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
The media has highlighted a compromising video footage, allegedly featuring Forejt. Its authenticity has not been verified.
The head of the Presidential Office, Vratislav Mynar, said he “is not connecting Forejt’s departure with any speculations such as those of the video type.”
Mynar said he was discussing “partial cooperation” with Miroslav Sklenar, Forejt’s predecessor in the post.
Mynar said, however, he did not think he would name Sklenar to the post.
Ovcacek said no one had been assigned to head the department.
Forejt is still an employee of the Foreign Ministry, Irena Valentova, from the Foreign Ministry press department, told CTK yesterday.
Now he is on unpaid leave and if he asks for it, he is eligible for a post correspondent with his skills, she added.
Zeman said earlier Forejt would become the ambassador to the Vatican.
Due to his future diplomatic career, Forejt officially became a Foreign Ministry employee.
When former president Vaclav Klaus was the president, the government approved Forejt’s as future ambassador to the Vatican. However, after Zeman was elected in 2013, he said he would like Forejt to stay in the post.