Czech Republic News in brief

Czech president stalls naming of foreign minister

| 2021-12-07 < 1 min read

Czech president stalls naming of foreign minister

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Czechia’s Pirate Party candidate for foreign minister Jan Lipavsky met President Milos Zeman, who reportedly opposes his appointment, on Tuesday ahead of the formation of the new government. Ministerial assignations have been delayed since the incoming coalition parties beat former prime minister Andrej Babis in early October, in part due to the weeks-long hospitalisation of Zeman. Once out of hospital in late November, Czechia’s head of state said he would “probably veto one nominee”, which was widely interpreted as referring to Lipavsky, who is a member of the centrist, pro-EU Pirate Party.

Lipavsky, who did not initially confirm that the pro-China Zeman had expressed opposition to his nomination, has previously called for a change in Czech relations with the Asian country. Although the coalition will include some Eurosceptic politicians, a general pivot towards Europe from the ambiguous positions of the outgoing Babis government is expected. Moreover, the incoming Czech prime minister Petr Fiala supports a boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February.

It emerged late Tuesday afternoon that Zeman had indeed asked Lipavsky to withdraw himself from consideration for foreign minister, Mapinfluence wrote. The outlet underlined that it is “important to note that the president does not have constitutional powers in this matter”.

Commentator and journalist at business daily Hospodarske noviny Petr Honzejk meanwhile tweeted: “It is as if the president was right-wing and ‘vetoed’ ministers, because the left won the election. That’s nonsense, isn’t it? In a parliamentary system, the president has nothing to say in the composition of the government, and even a debate about it represents a victory for him.”