Spidla reveals names of new ministers

Vladimir Spidla, Photo:CTK

The Czech Social Democrats and the right-of-centre Christian Democrats and Freedom Union reached a final agreement on Monday on forming a government expected to lead the country into the European Union. The Social Democrat leader Vladmir Spidla unveiled a list of 17 names to form the cabinet, including himself as the Prime Minister. Speaking confidently Vladimir Spidla said he was sure it would be a majority government and a strong governments. President Vaclav Havel is expected to appoint Vladimir Spidla on Friday and the rest of the cabinet on Monday. Radio Prague spoke to political commentator Alexander Mitrofanov and asked him whether there were any surprises on the list of new ministers.

Vladimir Spidla, Photo:CTK
"Those who followed the coalition talks might be surprised that in the last moment Pavel Dostal managed to maintain the post of Culture Minister. It was expected that Petr Mares of the Freedom Union would become new Culture Minister. My opinion is that although Vladimir Spidla did not count on Pavel Dostal at first, he did not want to leave such an important figure in his party unsatisfied."

The victorious Social Democrats will be in a position to outvote their coalition partners - they have 11 seats in the government and they hold most of the key ministries. The other two government parties, the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union have three seats each. With eight of the 17 ministers aged 40 or under, this new cabinet will be the youngest ever administration in this country. Political commentator Alexander Mitrofanov.

"Judging from the performance of the two young ministers in the previous government, Stanislav Gross and Jaroslav Tvrdik, they showed no signs of youthful hot-headedness. They are going to maintain their posts in the new cabinet and I believe the other young ministers, such as Bohuslav Sobotka and Vladimir Mlynar, are experienced politicians and there is no need to worry about youthful excesses. And of course, a young cabinet is likely to be more capable of action than a team of people over sixty."

All three cabinet parties are strongly pro-European Union and have made the country's accession to the EU a priority for the government, which will have just a one seat majority. How much can the new cabinet rely on parliamentary support with such a slim majority?

"This is going to be the main drawback. The government parties have only a one seat-majority in the parliament. The ex-leader of the Freedom Union, Hana Marvanova, who resigned last week, is a very unstable part of the coalition and, moreover, it is not clear how some Social Democrats will behave in the future. There are at least 5 MPs and some ministers of the previous government who did not even make it on the short list of ministerial candidates. And most of all it is difficult to predict how members of the Freedom Union will behave, because this party is quite unstable."