Negotiations over the distribution of ministries continue

Ondřej Deml

The new government that will be formed from the coalition of SPOLU (ODS, KDU-ČSL, and TOP 09) and PirSTAN is slowly taking shape. ODS chief and likely future prime minister Petr Fiala and other leaders are still silent on the issue of the choice of the ministries, but negotiations are going on continuously. Several names have already been decided.

The heads of the individual parties had the right of “first choice” and could say which Ministry they would like to occupy. The situation has been shaken up, for example, by TOP 09 chief Markéta Pekarová Adamová, who, despite pressure from her colleagues, withdrew her candidacy for the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and now she is a nominee for speaker of the lower house. On the other hand, the preferential votes received by individual party representatives in the elections may not play a significant role.

Information also shows that the occupation of ministries by individual parties will still change significantly. According to all participants in the negotiations, it is necessary to focus on strengthening the individual ministries and keeping balance in the distribution of power so that no party feels aggrieved. 

Because of the upcoming Czech EU presidency, which the country will assume in July 2022, there should be a new ministry for European affairs. The second new Ministry could then be a ministry for digitalization, dealt with by the “expert” Pirates.

Finance, Industry & Transport

ODS representatives have previously stated that the finance minister must come from the same party as the prime minister for the government to function well. Therefore, the Ministry is likely to be headed by ODS First Vice-Chairman Zbyněk Stanjura, who is also considered Fiala’s right-hand man. The Ministry of Industry and Trade may be filled by the mayor of Dolní Břežan, Věslav Michalik (STAN), who was originally a candidate for finance minister. The Transport Ministry is the next to go to the ODS. The name of Líbeznice mayor Martin Kupky or the party’s economic expert Jana Skopečka is most often mentioned in the head of the Ministry.

Foreign affairs, defense and justice 

As for the future head of diplomacy, there is new talk about former Pirate Jan Lipavský becoming the minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence. It seems that a decision has also been made about the defense ministry, which is likely to be occupied by the mayor of Prague 2, Jana Černochová (ODS).

An “old” minister is to reappear at the Justice Ministry, namely Pavel Blažek (ODS), who was in charge of the Ministry in the government of Petr Nečas. It is also practically clear about the composition of the Interior Ministry. Since the beginning of the negotiations, there has been a consensus that it will be filled by STAN chair Vít Rakušan, who also confirmed his persistent interest from the pre-election period.

Social affairs and health

Even though it initially appeared that there would be a “woman’s war” for the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs after Pekarová Adamová stopped seeking the Ministry, Pirate First Deputy Chair Olga Richterová also withdrew. In both cases, there is consistent talk of personal reasons. However, it is still true that the Ministry is to be filled by someone from the SPOLU coalition. And from the information so far, it seems that it will eventually end up with a candidate from the People’s Party, with Senator Šárka Jelínková is most often mentioned. The situation around the Health Ministry is a bit clearer, where everyone de facto agrees on the Brno radiologist, Vlastimil Válek from TOP 09. 

Local development, environment and agriculture

Pirate leader Ivan Bartos is most often discussed in connection with the local development ministry, which he was supposed to win for his party in the negotiations. However, there is also a scenario in play where he will head the Ministry of the environment. As far as the Agriculture Ministry is concerned, there is likely to be a return of KDU-ČSL chairman Marian Jurečka, who already held the post in the cabinet of Bohuslav Sobotka (ČSSD). 

Education and culture

As far as the name of the following Education Minister is concerned, everything currently points to the fact that it will be former STAN chief Petra Gazdíka. However, among the candidates was also the head of the KDU-ČSL deputies, Marek Výborný, or the ODS party expert on education, Martin Baxa. On the other hand, the situation at the Culture Ministry is unclear. The second Ministry will fall to TOP 09, which nominated Senator Jana Grulicha to the relevant team.