Press Advisories

28. 6. 2010 10:47

Jan Fischer’s Government has resigned

An extraordinary meeting of the Government was held on 25 June 2010 to mark the end of the constituent session of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament after the parliamentary elections in May this year. Jan Fischer’s cabinet handed in its resignation after over a year in power.

The temporary Government was established after a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek’s cabinet at the end of March 2009. It was only intended that Jan Fischer’s caretaker government would act until the early elections that were originally planned for the autumn of that year. Following the decision of the Constitutional Court, which annulled the early elections, its mandate was extended to more than double its original length.

On Sunday, 5 April 2009, the leaders of the then government coalition and the opposition Social Democrats agreed to propose to the President of the Republic that the President of the Statistical Office, Jan Fischer, take up the leadership of the new government. President Václav Klaus did this on 8 April, nominating Jan Fischer as the new Prime Minister and, on the basis of preliminary agreements with representatives from the Civic Democratic Party, Green Party and Social Democrats, also appointed sixteen ministers.

Jan Kohout and Martin Barták were named as deputy prime ministers and also made responsible for the Foreign and Defence Ministries. The former deputy minister Eduard Janota was appointed Finance Minister, the Chairman of the Office for the Protection of Competition, Martin Pecina, took over the leadership of the Interior Ministry, Vladimír Tošovský was appointed Industry Minister and Daniela Kovářová became Minister of Justice. The former Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs for the area of legislation, labour law, wages and occupational safety, Petr Šimerka, was named Minister, responsibility for the Ministry of Transport was assumed by Gustav Slamečka, and for the Ministry of Agriculture by the Director of the CAFIA, Jakub Šebesta, the Ministry of Health was taken on by Dana Jurásková, Miroslava Kopicová was appointed Education Minister and Rostislav Vondruška became Minister for Regional Development. Václav Riedlbauch was appointed Minister of Culture. Ladislav Miko was initially appointed head of the Ministry of the Environment, and in November 2009 he was replaced by Jan Dusík. Following the resignation of Jan Dusík on 22 March 2010, the ministry was run by Jakub Šebesta, Minister for Agriculture, for a period of almost a month before President Václav Klaus appointed the former deputy minister Rut Bízková as the new Environment Minister on 15 April. Michael Kocáb was the only minister who remained in office from the time of Mirek Topolánek’s government and was responsible for human rights until his resignation at the end of March this year. Another Government minister was Štefan Füle, but after his nomination as European Commissioner for the Czech Republic in November last year, he was succeeded as Minister for European Affairs by Dušan Chmiel. Pavel Zářecký was nominated as the last minister, and Chairman of the Legislative Council, also on 30 November 2009.

The Chamber of Deputies gave Jan Fischer’s government a vote of confidence on 7 June 2009 after which it successfully completed the Czech presidency of the European Union in this formation. One of the main challenges facing Fischer’s government during the period of economic crisis was to draft a proposed state budget which would prevent any further increase of the already high deficit. It had to adopt a series of reform measures aimed at reducing state expenditure and maintaining the budget deficit under five percent of gross domestic product. The caretaker government has been successful in this area, but at the cost of having to adopt additional measures after budget debates in Parliament.

One of the major milestones in the work carried out by Fischer’s cabinet was the Constitutional Court’s decision to abolish the extremist Workers Party in February of this year in response to a proposal by the Government. “I am also extremely pleased that the Government has taken concrete steps to oppose growing extremism, that in this country extremism has remained true extremism, that it has not become part of the political decor and, God forbid, part of the political spectrum of the country. I also appreciate the fact that we have managed to abolish the Workers Party in this country at the second attempt,” said Prime Minister Jan Fischer in his speech to the Senate on 23 June.

During the thirteen months this interim government has been in power, it has also managed to soothe relations in the science and research sector, the drafting of a document by the Ministry of Transport on the future of the Czech transport infrastructure and the work of the “Bezděk Commission” has been renewed. During this period the Government has managed to maintain the continuity of Czech foreign policy, as well as the level of its bilateral relations or membership in the European Union and in Euro-Atlantic organisations. According to the Prime Minister, the Government has also strengthened the economic diplomacy of the Czech Republic over the past year, primarily due to diplomatic activities, the strengthening of the pro-export nature of the Czech economy and pro-export elements.

“It was certainly an extraordinary Government with an extraordinary mandate, it was a non-political Government, although it is true that it was nonetheless a Government fully enshrined in the Constitution, but when carrying out this mandate we were obliged to respect the fact that the members of this Government were nominated by parties that agreed, when establishing it, that it would not be a Government that could appear with any reform proposals, or bold or major legislative actions,” Prime Minister told the Senate. “Nonetheless, when I look back on this past year – and it was a year rather than the five months originally proposed – I think I can say that the pluses still outweigh the rest,” concluded the Prime Minister.

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