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Czech president Zeman backs Zaoralek as new culture minister to defuse govt crisis

Czech president Zeman backs Zaoralek as new culture minister to defuse govt crisis

Czech President Milos Zeman on Wednesday backed the new nominee for culture minister from the junior party in the ruling coalition. The move is defusing a political crisis that had threatened to topple the government.

The Social Democrats earlier nominated Lubomir Zaoralek, a former foreign minister and lower house of parliament speaker, to head the Culture Ministry.

Last week, Zeman rejected their previous nominee for the post, breaking with the constitutional custom whereby a president does not veto a ministerial candidate presented by the prime minister.

The Social Democrats threatened to quit the ruling coalition with PM Andrej Babis’ ANO party if it could not pick the culture minister, Reuters said. However, the rejected nominee, Michal Smarda, stepped aside, opening the way for a compromise.