Poche Out: CSSD Asks Babis To Nominate Petricek For Foreign MinisterČTK
Prague, Sept 18 (CTK) – Czech junior government Social Democrat (CSSD) chairman and Deputy PM Jan Hamacek called on PM Andrej Babis (ANO) in a letter today to propose to President Milos Zeman that he appoint Deputy Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek as diplomacy head, Hamacek has told reporters.
Hamacek added that he was convinced that Petricek (CSSD) would manage the ministerial post.
The CSSD thus gave up the nomination of its MEP Miroslav Poche, whom President Milos Zeman refused to appoint as foreign affairs minister in the coalition government of Babis’s ANO and the CSSD at the end of June. Hamacek, who is also the interior minister, has been temporarily heading the Foreign Ministry since then.
Zeman should discuss the matter of a new foreign minister with Babis in two weeks, at their regular meeting at the presidential summer residence in Lany near Prague in the evening on October 2, the president’s spokesman, Jiri Ovcacek, said today.
Petricek said in a press release that he would like to meet Babis and Zeman soon.
He said he was pleased by the trust the Social Democrats gave him.
“I would like to meet the prime minister and the president in a fairly short time to get to know their view of my possible participation in the government in this post,” he said, adding that he would not comment on the matter until then.
Hamacek reiterated today that the CSSD had not caused the situation of his heading two ministries simultaneously.
Hamacek originally announced in late August that the Social Democrats would solve the dispute about Poche’s nomination after the local elections to be held on October 5-6 not to harm the CSSD election campaign.
Nevertheless, he proposed the new solution as soon as it proved to be “admissible and adequate,” he said today.
Hamacek added that he had discussed the change in the nomination with Poche who accepted it.
Poche said he considered Petricek an excellent choice of a new diplomacy head. Petricek is an educated man with good managerial skills, Poche told CTK.
Petricek, 36, was an assistant to Poche. He was working in the European Parliament from 2014 till 2017 when he interrupted his work there to become deputy at the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry for seven months. He has been working at the Foreign Affairs Ministry since August.
He also worked at the Prague City Hall and was a member of the Zelivska provozni company board. He is leading the CSSD list of candidates in Prague 7 in the October general election.
Zeman did not appoint Poche as foreign minister in late June, though PM Babis proposed him for his cabinet in harmony with the ANO-CSSD coalition pact. Zeman cited Poche’s challenging of Prague’s rejection of the EU migrant quotas and its pro-Israeli policy as the reasons.
After a few days of speculations, the presidential and government offices explained that Babis had also submitted an alternative proposal to Zeman for the case of his refusal of Poche and demanded that in such a case Zeman entrust Hamacek to head diplomacy temporarily.
Zeman told CTK in mid-July that he considered the matter of filling the foreign minister’s post closed. It is up to Hamacek how long he will be heading both ministries simultaneously, Zeman indicated.