Andrej Babis


Babis To Release Minister Nominee Names Friday

Andrej Babiš, Miloš Zeman

Olomouc, North Moravia, June 20 (CTK) – Czech PM Andrej Babis said today he will release the names of candidates for ministers in his new cabinet on Friday afternoon, the day when President Milos Zeman meets Miroslav Poche, whom the Social Democrats (CSSD) want for foreign minister but Zeman refuses to appoint him.


Babis (ANO) probably plans to present the ministerial candidates proposed by his ANO movement after the results of the Zeman-Poche meeting is known.


“I have discussed the draft list of candidates with the president. I will release it on Friday afternoon,” Babis told journalists at the close of his visit to the Olomouc Region.


Zeman will receive Poche, one of the five ministerial candidates from the CSSD, the junior partner in the nascent cabinet, in the Lany chateau on Friday afternoon.


Zeman criticises Poche, a MEP, for his approach to the migrant crisis and refuses to appoint him foreign minister. A few days ago, he indicated that he would ask Poche to withdraw his candidacy.


The CSSD has refused to give up Poche’s candidacy, and Poche would not withdraw it either.


Zeman, on a visit to north Bohemia, reiterated today that Poche should not be foreign minister.


“Most recently, I have read a statement by Mr [Jakub] Michalek, who is the Pirate Party’s deputy chairman and who said that Mr Poche is a part of the corrupt environment at the Prague City Hall…I don’t think that a member of the government should be a part of a corrupt environment,” Zeman said at a meeting with citizens in the Lisany village.


In 2010, Poche, a member of the CSSD’s branch in Prague, was forced to withdraw from his posts in the party over a scandal around his latent financing of the CSSD.


He provided a gift of several hundred thousands of crowns to the CSSD in the form of “membership fees” paid to it by several fellow CSSD members. He eventually explained that wanted to prevent the CSSD from paying a tax on the donated sum.


Unlike ANO, the CSSD has released the names of its five candidates for the ministers of foreign affairs, interior, agriculture, labour and social affairs and culture.


If established, the ANO-CSSD cabinet would be a minority one, with 93 seats in the 200-seat lower house of parliament, and relying on the Communists’ (KSCM) support.


The KSCM, too, is opposed to the ministerial nomination of Poche. It criticises him for having, together with another 11 Czech MEPs, supported an EP resolution calling on countries to observe the migrant redistribution quotas in May 2017.


However, Poche voted against the resolution at the time.


In face of the information, the KSCM has newly focused its criticism on Poche’s scandal of 2010.


Zeman previously said he wants to meet the ministerial candidates who are not members of Babis’s outgoing cabinet of ANO separately as of Friday.