PM Topolánek replacing four ministers in cabinet reshuffle
Nearly three months after promising a cabinet reshuffle, the Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolánek, has finally announced which members of his cabinet are to be removed. Making the announcement on Monday, Mr Topolánek said the replacement of four ministers would give his government a “new dynamic”, and improve communication with the public.
“The changes at ministries should bring a new dynamic to the work of the cabinet, to make it more effective, to improve communication with the public and to reflect the situation from last year. That’s why these changes do not necessarily mean a poor evaluation of the ministers’ work.”
The prime minister promised to replace several of his ministers after October’s Senate and regional elections, in which all three coalition parties suffered a whitewash. The opposition scored high on promises to remove unpopular health care fees, introduced as part of the government’s health care reform early last year. The defeat brought about a conflict in the coalition, which effectively lost its majority in Parliament. Mr Topolánek said soon-to-be-ex Health Minister Julínek failed to convince the coalition partners that the reforms were necessary.
The four ministers will be replaced within ten days. Some of their replacements are already known. The defence minister, Vlasta Parkanová, will also take on the position of deputy prime minister for the Christian Democrats, with that party’s Cyril Svoboda taking over at the regional development ministry. Meanwhile, the Greens will get their wish of seeing rock musician Michael Kocáb inheriting the human rights brief. Civic Democrat Petr Bendl will likely take his party’s berth at the Transport Ministry, and, last but not least, Senator Daniela Filipiová, who is wheelchair-bound, is tipped to become the new minister of health.