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PM says he sacked Dienstbier for being incomprehensible

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Prague, Nov 13 (CTK) – Czech PM and Social Democrat (CSSD) head Bohuslav Sobotka has decided to dismiss minister Jiri Dienstbier (CSSD) because his policy in the human rights area was incomprehensible to a majority of the CSSD voters, Sobotka said in a discussion on Czech Television (CT) on Sunday.

He said CSSD lawmaker Jan Chvojka, who will replace Dienstbier, is supposed to present the human rights issues in a simpler way.

“In human terms, I like Jiri Dienstbier, but the problem was that his policy was incomprehensible to a majority of our voters. I believe we need a simpler and more comprehensible communication in the human rights area,” Sobotka said.

On Friday, Sobotka said Dienstbier’s successor should deal, for example, with the problem of unemployment in socially excluded localities.

Chvojka told CTK on Sunday that if he becomes minister, he will focus on the improvement of the situation where human rights are jeopardised or violated.

“The Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms applies to all citizens, not to selected groups only,” Chvojka wrote in a statement sent to CTK.

As Dienstbier’s successor at the head of the Government Legislative Council, Chvojka wants to lead the council actively and communicate with the authors of submitted bills.

He wants to fulfil as many as possible tasks outlined in the government’s policy statement, he wrote.

Apart from Dienstbier, Sobotka has also proposed the dismissal of Health Minister Svatopluk Nemecek and his replacement with Miloslav Ludvik (both CSSD), director of the Prague-Motol University Hospital.

The change should help the CSSD emphasise its priorities in health care policy, Sobotka said in the discussion on CT.

He repeated that Ludvik is the first economist by training to become health minister after a long line of doctors.

Later on Sunday, Sobotka handed the proposals for the dismissals to President Milos Zeman.

Zeman previously called for the dismissal of Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) over his mid-October meeting with the Tibetan Dalai Lama.

“It is not up to the president to propose changes in the cabinet. We do not have a presidential system,” Sobotka said on CT, commenting on Zeman’s claim.

At the same time, he said Herman’s performance as minister has been “far from brilliant.”

Sobotka recently launched a series of separate meetings with all ministers aimed to assess their performance and plans.

Afterwards he wants to meet the chairmen of the other two government parties, the KDU-CSL and ANO, to discuss possible replacement of some of “their” ministers.

Nevertheless, Sobotka does not want to violate the coalition agreement under which the three party chairmen each have the right to nominate and sack ministers for their respective parties, he said in the CT debate.

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