Zeman Meets 3 Minister Candidates

milos zeman

Lany, Central Bohemia, Dec 11 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman met the remaining three candidates for ministers in the nascent government, Robert Plaga (education), Jiri Milek (agriculture) and Ilja Smid (culture), to discuss their plans in office today, the Presidential Office has tweeted.


Zeman met the other six of the nine newcomers in the planned minority government of Andrej Babis (ANO) in the Lany presidential chateau near Prague in the past days. He received the three women to be in the next cabinet first and then their male colleagues.


Zeman plans to appoint the Babis government of his ANO ministers and unaffiliated experts on Wednesday.


Zeman and Plaga discussed primarily the inclusion of slightly mentally disabled children in regular schools as well as the funding of schools and sports since Plaga would be in charge of the sport sector as well.


Plaga said after the meeting that they had talked about a possible revision of the inclusion and they had also touched upon the rising of financial means for employees in the education and sport sectors.


The main topics of Zeman’s meeting with Milek were problems of retail chains.


They also spoke about the project of the Danube-Oder-Elbe canal, advocated by Zeman.


Milek said the Czech Republic’s food self-sufficiency was one of the priorities of agriculture.


Zeman does not plan to meet the ANO ministers who were in the previous centre-left coalition government of Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats (CSSD), comprised of the CSSD, ANO and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL).


Zeman only said he knew them and was satisfied with their work.


Those are Environment Minister Richard Brabec, Justice Minister Robert Pelikan and Transport Minister Dan Tok who will keep their posts, while Regional Development Minister Karla Slechtova will become defence minister and outgoing Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky will be the new head of diplomacy.


Zeman said he would like to get acquainted with the newcomers in the next government and discuss their plans at particular ministries.


The new government is to meet immediately after its appointment on Wednesday and Babis intends to inaugurate the first ministers on the same day.


Smid said he wanted to concentrate on the pay rise in the cultural sphere, its growing budget and an amendment to heritage care law.


He said the salaries in the sphere of culture were disastrous.


“The manifesto includes the plan that we should raise the salaries to 150 percent of the current level by 2021 or within the four-year period when the government is to rule,” Smid said.


Smid said he would like to raise the cultural budget so that it reached at least 1 percent of the budget without the financing of churches. Now it stands at about 0.7 percent.