Babiš rules out having Šmarda in his cabinet

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says he will not be in a government with Michal Šmarda, the Social Democrats’ nominee for arts minister. Miloš Zeman said this week that he would not appoint Mr. Šmarda and Mr. Babiš told reporters on Friday he shared the president’s view that he was not a good candidate.

Social Democrats leader Jan Hamáček pointed out that the prime minister had himself originally proposed Mr. Šmarda for the cabinet post.

Mr. Zeman has rejected Mr. Šmarda’s nomination despite being required under the constitution to appoint ministers proposed by the head of government.

Mr. Babiš is due to discuss the post of arts minister with the president on Tuesday and says the situation must be resolved next week.

The Social Democrats have threatened to quit the government over the matter as the culture ministry is their domain under the coalition agreement.

Author: Ian Willoughby