Nominations complete for Czech caretaker government
Designated Czech prime minister Jiří Rusnok on Monday announced he has filled the last vacancy in his caretaker cabinet. The post of finance minister is to be taken up by Jan Fischer, former presidential candidate and himself an ex-prime minister of a technocrat government. Mr Fischer said boosting economic growth would be his top priority in his new role. The government is to be appointed later this week, and will then have 30 days to seek confidence from the lower house.
“Mr Fischer will head the Finance Ministry and at the same time, will become a deputy prime minister of this government. We have met several times; it’s a difficult job for anyone, so we agreed that the two of us will work as a team to make sure our public finances are under tight control, which is a priority for this government.”
For his part, Jan Fischer briefly outlined some of the priorities he said he would pursue in his new position. In a country going through the longest recession on record, economic growth is high of Mr Fischer’s list.
“We don’t want to carry out any far-reaching changes to the tax system and tax rates. But it will be my duty to improve our tax collection discipline, and to prevent tax evasion.”
Jan Fischer, once a communist party member, finished third in January’s popular presidential election. He endorsed the eventual winner, Miloš Zeman. But on Monday, he rejected allegations that his nomination for the government was a payback from President Zeman.
Mr Fischer is also to cover some 5.5 million crowns of debt originating in his own presidential campaign. When asked whether he was the right person to oversee public finances while being unable to repay his own debt, Fischer said all his bills would be paid “today or tomorrow”.
President Miloš Zeman is set to appoint the technocrat cabinet of Jiří Rusnok on Wednesday. The government will then have 30 days to ask the lower house for a vote of confidence, a move the outcome of which is difficult to predict.