Andrej Babis


Babis’s Nascent Cabinet Plagued By Scandal

Andrej Babiš, ANO

Prague, July 9 (CTK) – The image of the Czech brand-new cabinet is burdened with infamous affairs of some of its members, Pavel Baroch writes in weekly Tyden today, mentioning Tatana Mala (justice), Lubomir Metnar (defence), Antonin Stanek (culture) and Richard Brabec (environment) among the disputable ministers.


The far most embarrassing is the case of Mala (ANO), 36. She must be a genuine super-woman with unearthly capabilities, since for three recent years, she worked as an articled clerk in Dolny Kubin, a central Slovak town situated 300 km far from her home village of Lelkovice, south Moravia, where she simultaneously held a post of a town councillor, Baroch writes.


If Mala, a mother of three, managed to shuttle 300 km for so a long period, she really must have superhuman capabilities, he says.


On the other hand, her talent does not seem to be so brilliant in the light of the thesis she wrote within her economics studies at the Mendel University in Brno, which, in fact, she was incapable of writing independently and had to resort to vast plagiarism.


After all, Mala’s thesis at the private Pan-European University in Bratislava, where she majored in law, is also plagiarism to an extent.


Last year, Mala showed a peculiar opinion as a lawyer by suggesting that the prosecution of ANO chairman Andrej Babis, the current prime minister suspected of an EU subsidy fraud, be postponed until after the next elections. At the Pan-European University, they probably do not teach the subject of “People’s equality before law”, or Mala did not attend the lectures, Baroch writes with irony.


Metnar (for ANO) has become the new defence minister, switching to the post from that of the interior minister, which he held in the previous cabinet. He offers good competences for defending his homeland against an external enemy, since in the past, he was an active member of the BOS movement associating former and current soldiers and police officers, who present clear opinions about international affairs and Prague’s allies in NATO, Baroch continues.


He cites an opinion that appeared on the BOS’s website some time ago: “The Americans behave like swine. No wonder, it is not enough for them to have almost exterminated the [continent’s] original population. They triggered wars for the benefit of their arrogance, gluttony and interference in the EU affairs, and now they are eyeing Russia in an effort to get Europe involved in a war conflict.”


When Metnar will attend a NATO summit for the first time in his capacity as defence minister, a U.S. military representative may ask him about the above stances, Baroch says.


Like Metnar, Transport Minister Dan Tok (for ANO), too, has passed to the new cabinet from the previous one, where he showed incompetence in launching a tender for the toll system operator. The excessively protracted competition and the conditions set by the ministry finally made all bidders propose the introduction of a satellite toll system. As a result, the billions of crowns that the state invested in the present microwave system may all come to nothing, Baroch writes.


Another continuing minister is Richard Brabec, ANO deputy chairman and former manager of Agrofert, Babis’s giant agricultural, food, chemical and media holding, whose Environment Ministry has protected Babis’s companies against many-million-crown fines they faced for violating nature-protection laws, Baroch writes.


Adam Vojtech (ANO), too, keeps his post of health minister. Last week, he sacked the director of a Prague hospital who faces prosecution for suspected corruption. Vojtech, nevertheless, evidently does not mind being a member of a cabinet with a prosecuted prime minister at its head, Baroch writes.


The junior government partner, the Social Democrats (CSSD), too, have their infamous “star” in the 15-member cabinet.


Still before becoming culture minister for the CSSD, Antonin Stanek supported the candidacy of the communist poet and communist-era ideologist Karel Sys for a state award.


To explain his support, Stanek said the award should go to Sys for his contribution to culture, not to politics. He has probably forgotten that Sys, also awarded by the Communist regime, wrote and published his works at the time when other authors were banned or even spent time in communist jails, Baroch writes.