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June 17, 2018 4:00 pm | FILED UNDER: politics

Zeman Demands Poche ‘Reconsider’ Foreign Minister Candidacy

By ČTK Zeman Poche

Lany, Central Bohemia, June 17 (CTK) – President Milos Zeman will meet Social Democrat (CSSD) MEP Miroslav Poche and ask him to re-consider his candidacy for foreign minister to facilitate the formation of the ANO-CSSD government and its toleration, Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said today.

 

Zeman will start receiving the candidates for ministers proposed by ANO and the CSSD, including Poche, after he returns from his visit to the Usti Region, Ovcacek said on Facebook after a meeting between Zeman and PM and ANO chairman Andrej Babis in Lany today. Zeman is to return from the region on Thursday.

 

Poche told CTK that he would be preparing for a meeting with Zeman as a candidate for foreign minister. “I hope that the meeting will mainly focus on my opinions about foreign policy, the heading of Czech foreign policy and the state of the diplomatic corps,” Poche said.

 

Zeman has raised objections to Poche due to his stance on migration.

 

Zeman announced via his spokesman that he would never appoint Poche as minister.

 

The Communists (KSCM), who are to tolerate the ANO-CSSD minority government, rejected Poche as well and said they would not support a government with him.

 

CSSD chairman Jan Hamacek said the problem must be solved, but the Social Democrats would not let anyone dictate conditions to them.

 

Babis left Lany directly after the meeting and he will give a press briefing in Pruhonice at 17:00.

 

Some 20 people with banners and red trunks were waiting for Babis outside Lany to protest against the Czech Republic’s political course under him and Zeman.

 

The Million Moments for Democracy association wanted to give a petition for a decent PM to Babis that had been signed by more than 250,000 people to date.

 

Poche said today he did not insist on his nomination, but that he expected the CSSD to insist on it. He said he was not considering giving it up on Babis’s recommendation. However, if his name were the only obstacle to the government formation, he would take this into consideration, Poche said.

 

“I have not yet heard any arguments and facts that would prevent me from becoming the foreign affairs minister,” he said.

 

Communist chairman Vojtech Filip said on public Czech TV that Poche had stood up against the Czech Republic in the vote on migration in the European Parliament (EP), which the KSCM minded.

 

Filip also said the Social Democrats had known about the categorical rejection of Poche by the KSCM before their intra-party referendum on entering the government with ANO, which CSSD chairman Jan Hamacek denied.

 

Poche called Filip’s information about the vote in the EP a lie on Twitter. Poche said such arguments were used by the “disinformation webs” and the chairman of the anti-EU ultra-right Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), Tomio Okamura.

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