President refuses to sack minister as snap election looks on the cards
The Czech ruling coalition appeared close to collapse yesterday after President Milos Zeman again refused a government request to sack the culture minister, raising the possibility of a snap election.
Prime Minister Andrej Babis's ruling ANO party and its junior centre-left coalition partner, the Social Democrats, are demanding the dismissal of Culture Minister Antonin Stanek, a Social Democrat, saying he has failed to fulfil his duties.
But Mr Zeman has defended Mr Stanek, saying he had uncovered corruption in his ministry, a view he reiterated yesterday.
Under the Czech constitution, the president is obliged to fire ministers if requested to do so by the prime minister, but Mr Zeman is known for acting independently of the government. Social Democrat chief Jan Hamacek said he was "no longer an optimist" that Mr Zeman would act.