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August 31, 2018 12:00 am | FILED UNDER: politics

Social Democrats Stand Behind Poche For Foreign Minister

By ČTK MEP Miroslav Poche

Prague, Aug 31 (CTK) – Czech Social Democrat (CSSD) leader Jan Hamacek pledged to resolve the dispute over the nomination of Miroslav Poche as foreign minister, rejected by President Milos Zeman, by mid-October, Social Democrat sources told CTK today.

 

Interior Minister Jan Hamacek is now also the acting foreign minister.

 

Zeman has refused to appoint Poche. Zeman is against him due to what he called his positive attitude to migration and corruption allegations.

 

The Social Democrats insist on Poche’s nomination.

 

Prime Minister Andrej Babis said the postponement of the dispute was unfortunate.

 

“We need the post to be filled so that some foreign missions could materialise,” Babis told CTK.

 

The previous meeting of the party’s leadership recommended to the party board that it leave the solution to the problem until after the October local and Senate elections.

 

“It is the politicians’ task to agree and not to burden the public. It would not be right to burden the hot phase of the campaign,” Hamacek said.

 

He repeated that he had tried to settle the dispute with Zeman.

 

“However, more actors are needed to reach an agreement,” he added.

 

Poche wrote to CTK he was glad that the Social Democrats were standing almost unanimously behind him.

 

He said he felt sorry Social Democrat deputy chairman Jiri Zimola had been absent from today’s meeting.

 

Zimola is of the view the Social Democrats should propose a different candidate to Zeman.

 

Poche said he presumed he would become the foreign minister in the future.

 

“Or else, I could not continue with the work,” Poche told Czech Television, referring to his work at the ministry where he is employed as a political secretary.

 

Jiri Pospisil, the leader of the opposition TOP 09, said the Czech foreign policy was suffering from the disagreement on the post of the foreign minister.

 

“At the time many major foreign policy questions are being dealt with, due to Zeman, Babis and Hamacek, the Czech Republic will not have a regular foreign minister for another six weeks,” Pospisil said.

 

“This immensely weakens the Czech Republic’s international position. The responsibility for this is shouldered by the three gentlemen,” he has tweeted.

 

Some party members are afraid that if the party stopped supporting Poche, an influential member of its Prague branch, this would threaten its prospects in the elections in Prague.

 

At the end of June, Zeman refused to appoint Poche as the foreign minister, although Babis (ANO) proposed him in harmony with the coalition pact between his ANO and the Social Democrats.

 

Hamacek discussed the affair with Zeman on Wednesday.

 

In mi-July, Zeman told CTK that he considered the question of the filling of the post closed. He said he left it solely up to Hamacek whether he would be heading simultaneously both offices.

 

Hamacek says he considers the situation at the head of the Foreign Ministry temporary.

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