Lubomír Zaorálek appointed Czech minister of culture

Lubomír Zaorálek has been appointed Czech minister of culture, ending a political dispute that was threatening to bring down the government.

At the end of July, President Miloš Zeman dismissed then minister of culture, Antonín Staněk, following a request from the prime minister, Andrej Babiš, who had accused Mr Staněk of being ineffective.

After Mr Zeman then refused to appoint the Social Democrats’ first pick Michal Šmarda, the party threatened to leave the government coalition.

Mr Zaorálek, also a Social Democrat, served as Czech foreign minister from 2014-17, and has been an MP since 1996.

“As a former foreign minister I know well how highly Czech culture is perceived, and how many doors it opened for us. It often happened that thanks to Czech culture we made contacts with the top politicians and leading entrepreneurs of a given country. So I know the potential, the power of Czech culture,” said Mr Zaorálek following his appointment.

Photo: Czech foreign ministry