MIlos Zeman Jan Hamacek Andrej Babis

Matt Atlas

Ruling Coalition Threatened By Row Over Culture Minister

Jan Hamacek, Miloš Zeman

Following a brief period of calm, the government is in danger of collapse again. Social Democrats are debating how to respond to President Zeman’s refusal to appoint Culture Minister nominee Michal Smarda.


In an interview with Denik N, Michal Smarda CSSD’s nominee for Culture Minister said that “President Milos Zeman’s decision did not surprise me. But we expect the president to respect and follow the constitution.”


Social Democrats shouldn’t leave the government over the Culture Minister nominee, CSSD chairman Robin Povsik said. Povsik refused to comment if Hamacek should demand Smarta’s appointment. “Mr. Hamacek knows my opinion, I gave him my opinion a month ago, and I have no comment on it now.”


In an appearance on Czech TV Deputy Chairman Roman Onderka said Babis should file a legal action against the president or convince him to change his mind. If Babis fails to do so, CSSD ministers should resign.


Zeman should follow the constitution, Hamacek said. He argues Zeman can’t legally refuse based on Smarda’s professional experience, constitutional lawyer Jan Kysela agrees. He told Czech Television that the president can refuse to appoint a minister only in the case of a legal impediment or if the nominee poses a national security risk.


Michal Smarda has the full support of the Social Democrats, and we will not consider any other nominees, Jan Hamacek said on Wednesday. He threatened to leave the coalition if the president refuses to appoint Smarda.


According to the constitution, the president must appoint any candidate nominated by the prime minister.