Jiří Čunek returns to government
Christian Democrat leader Jiří Čunek is back in the Czech Government after he was re-appointed deputy prime minister and regional development minister by President Václav Klaus on Thursday. More than a year after he was accused of corruption, Mr Čunek has withstood resistance to his comeback and reassumed his position.
“This is not a personal dispute between Mr Čunek and me, and I am not judging Mr Čunek, either. All this is very distant to me. I just believe that a member of the Czech government must make everything clear and I suppose that everything will be made public.”
The bribe taking-scandal was not the first smear on Jiří Čunek’s reputation. During his term as the mayor of a town in North Moravia, he had several dozen Roma families moved out of the town accommodating them in provisional facilities. He also made several disparaging comments about the Roma community for which he was heavily criticized by human rights watchers as well as some politicians.
“The procedure is absolutely unusual and I wouldn’t accept it under normal circumstances. But since it’s Karel Schwarzenberg, I will accept it. Also, there is no longer anything confidential about the Čunek family finances, they has been checked many times, so I have no reason to hide anything.”
The results of the audit are expected to be ready by the beginning of July; Mr Schwarzenberg said he would then decide again on whether he would remain in the government. But for the time being, the return of Mr Čunek is a victory for Prime Minister Topolánek who has managed to satisfy the Christian Democrats without losing one of the most popular ministers of his cabinet.