Czech president names new ministers, cabinet reshuffle complete
Czech President Vaclav Klaus named five new government ministers Friday, a move that concluded Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek's long-planned cabinet overhaul at a time when the country chairs the European Union.
Topolanek promised to reconstruct his three-party center-right cabinet after his senior ruling Civic Democrats were trounced in regional and Senate elections in October, reported dpa.
The ruling parties, which also include the Christian Democrats and the Greens, alienated voters after introducing unpopular public finance measures, such as direct payments in healthcare.
The new ministers assumed their posts at a time when economic slowdown is expected to fully hit central Europe and at the onset of Czech Republic's six-month rotating EU presidency lasting through June 30.
Daniela Filipiova, 51, is the new health minister and Petr Bendl, who turns 43 on Saturday, the new transportation minister.
Cyril Svoboda, 52, took over at the helm of the regional development ministry from Jiri Cunek, 49, the controversial Christian Democratic leader whose recent resignation opened way for the sweeping reshuffle in the middle of cabinet's term.
Svoboda passed his previous post of a legislative minister to his namesake Pavel Svoboda, 46, while Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanova, 57, inherited Cunek's post of a vice-premier.
Michael Kocab, 54, a rock musician who left politics after leading successful efforts to withdraw Soviet troops from the then Czechoslovakia in 1991, took over as a minister for minorities and human rights.