Human rights minister Michael Kocáb steps down at Greens’ request
The Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Michael Kocáb has resigned - meeting a request by the Green Party which no longer intends to support the country’s caretaker government. The Greens decided to withdraw from the cabinet entirely after its environment minister stepped down over what they see as ineffective modernisation plans by the ČEZ power utility for a controversial coal-powered plant.
“There are several things, from programmes to help the Roma, to help them fight against social exclusion, to gender issues, pushing for equal opportunities and so on.”
With Mr Kocáb gone, Prime Minister Jan Fischer could take up the human rights post for the few months his cabinet has left, making clear he would stay the course. But the course for the cabinet here on in may not be as easy: for one, the cabinet has lost support not only from the Greens but also potentially from the right-of-centre Civic Democratic Party. While it has not pulled any ministers, its members are far from happy with recent developments, calling for the freed ministerial posts to be either filled by their own nominees or by new names put forward by the Green Party. The crux of the problem, in their view, is the need to balance nominees within the interim cabinet, in which the leftist Social Democrats now theoretically have a “majority”. And, the Civic Democrats have made clear unless a reasonable solution is found they will not support further moves by the cabinet.
Meanwhile, there is also still a sliver of a chance that the Greens may change their mind and support the cabinet after all: but Prime Minister Jan Fischer would have to do an about-face and push for changes to the modernisation plans for the Prunéřov power plant and the cabinet would also have to adopt changes to the mining act to satisfy members of the Green Party. That is highly unlikely, and in those regards no one – including members of the Green Party leadership – is likely to hold their breath.