>Czech politics: ready, aim, fire


Now the new minority Czech centre-right government has made it through a vote of confidence, the Civic Democrats (ODS) work of restructuring ministries and replacing senior officials continues. Today’s LN reports that Industry and Trade Minister Martin Říman has industriously started to fire, hire and reorganize. Similar developments took place before Christmas in the ODS-controlled Health Ministry and the Christian Democrat nominated Culture Minister, the documenatarist Helena Třeštíková resigned after only a couple of weeks in office, reportedly unable to withstand ODS pressure to appoint deputy ministers aligned with their part, rather than the officials she wanted. In truth, there is a well established tradition in post-1989 Czech coalition governments that the post of deputy minister (náměstek) – actually, I think a post as senior official, rather than a representative accountable to parliament as my translation suggests – is held by a party different from that of minister. Indeed, one could argue that this was a form of democratic control mechanism, although ‘dividing up of the spoils’ might be another view.

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