Zeman keeps options open over ‘problem’ ministers

President Miloš Zeman says he has not taken a definitive opinion on whether he should approve certain ministers in the nascent coalition government or not. The head state said in a television interview Sunday that was the reason why he was prepared to meet with ministerial candidates. Zeman detailed specific objections to three proposed ministers, without naming them, in a press conference on Friday, adding that the head of state had the right to refuse Cabinet suggestions.

His words have been widely interpreted as targeting likely interior minister Milan Chovanec; minister of industry and trade Jan Mládek; and minister for human rights, Jiří Dienstbier; all Social Democrat nominees. Zeman said his misgivings about Jan Mládek focused on why he was refused clearance by the national security service 14 years ago. Mládek has pointed out that a more recent security application was not refused but abandoned because it was no longer needed.

Author: Chris Johnstone