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Europe

Temporary cabinet sworn in under Fischer

Latest update : 2009-05-08

A temporary Czech cabinet has been sworn in under Jan Fischer (pictured) that will lead the country through the end of its European Union presidency on June 30 and to early elections in October.

AFP - A temporary Czech cabinet was sworn in on Friday to lead the country through the rest of its European Union presidency running to June 30 and to early elections in October.
   
The cabinet led by Jan Fischer will replace the centre-right team of Mirek Topolanek, toppled at the end of March midway through the country's six-month EU presidency.
   
"The uncertainty following the fall of the (previous) cabinet... is over as of today," President Vaclav Klaus said after the ceremony.
   
"Today's economic situation requires above all a functioning, hard-working cabinet -- and I believe this is what you will be," he added.
   
The new cabinet will lead the country to early elections due by October 9, based on a deal between the current governing coalition and the opposition Social Democrats, whose no-confidence vote toppled Topolanek.
   
Fischer said the cabinet was the result of a political deal, but "this does not degrade the fact that we are facing urgent, demanding and important tasks."
   
"We want to complete the Czech Republic's presidency of the EU, prepare the state budget and ensure a quiet and efficient operation of the country until the time when people decide about a new team in the next elections," he added.
   
"This cabinet will try hard to create a good impression of this country abroad," he said.
   
Klaus underlined this was the fifth cabinet he had appointed in six years in the top job.
   
"I don't know if this is a convincing result of the stability of our political scene," he added.
   
The cabinet include as foreign minister Jan Kohout, who was deputy to outgoing minister Karel Schwarzenberg, and as minister for European affairs Stefan Fule, the current Czech ambassador to NATO.
   
Fischer, Kohout and Fule were members of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, like Eduard Janota, the new finance minister.
   
Kohout and Defence Minister Martin Bartak will also become deputy prime ministers.
   
Janota's appointment ended weeks of disputes over the new finance minister whose duties will include putting together the 2010 state budget, a tough job amid the economic crisis that has blown up public deficits across the world.
   
Michael Kocab, Fischer's minister for human rights and minorities, is the only member of the Topolanek team who has retained his post.
   
Fischer and Klaus are yet to decide who will be in charge of some events held within the EU presidency, notably the EU summit in June.
   
It has been announced that the staunchly eurosceptic Czech president will be in charge of the EU summit with Russia on May 21-22 and with South Korea on May 23 after chairing the EU-Japan summit in Prague on May 4.
   
But the rest remains unclear, including the crucial June summit that will deal with the EU's reforming Lisbon Treaty, fervently opposed by Klaus and cleared by the Czech parliament only on Wednesday.
 

Date created : 2009-05-08

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