Czech president rejects cultural minister nominee
PRAGUE, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- Czech President Milos Zeman has refused to name Social Democrat (CSSD) deputy head Michal Smarda as the new culture minister and asked the CSSD to suggest new candidate, Zeman's spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said on his Facebook page on Wednesday.
"President Zeman has stated that Michal Smarda has never dealt with the issue of Czech culture. For this reason, he is not professionally competent for the execution of the post of the Czech Republic's culture minister," Ovcacek said.
"Therefore, the president has asked CSSD chairman Jan Hamacek to, through the Prime Minister, propose another candidate, who will fulfill at least some elementary professional prerequisites," he added.
In response to this, Hamacek said that Zeman should proceed in keeping with the constitution. Before, he had said Smarda's appointment was a condition for CSSD to stay in the government.
In April, former cultural minister Antonin Stanek dismissed National Gallery head Jiri Fajt and Olomouc Art Museum head Michal Soukup, triggering criticism from cultural fields.
The Social Democrats pushed for Stanek's ouster after he fired two directors of state-run art galleries in April.
In mid-May, Stanek tendered his resignation. But Zeman did not accept his resignation. Then, at the Social Democrats' request, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis then proposed that Stanek be dismissed and proposed Smarda as his successor.
Zeman eventually dismissed Stanek at the end of July, but has not named his successor.