News

 

Embattled transport minister announces decision to step down

 
photo:  (radio.cz)
 

Transport Minister Dan Ťok has announced his decision to step down. The country’s longest-serving transport minister is being blamed for the state of the country’s permanently congested D1 highway and procrastination in failing to secure a new operator for the tolling system on Czech highways.

 
 

Minister Ťok made his announcement amid growing speculation that he would be one of the ministers recalled in a pending cabinet reshuffle. The embattled transport minister said he would not wait to be dismissed, revealing that he had offered the prime minister his resignation already in January of this year.

“I am tired not from the work that the post entails, which has been rewarding, but from the constant attacks against me and from the various efforts made to by-pass me.”

Minister Ťok was referring to a recent revelation stemming from a police investigation that Jaroslav Faltýnek, a senior official from the ANO party and the prime minister’s chief aide, had led secret negotiations regarding the tender for an operator to run the tolling system on Czech highways. This was at a time when the minister came under fire for prolonging a contract with the Austrian company Kapsch after failing to organize a competitive tender in time.

The transport minister was also blamed for the slow pace of reconstruction of the country’s highways, the building of new stretches and the generally poor state of Czech roads. The problems surrounding the permanently congested D1 highway, the country’s main connection from Prague to Brno, led to a special session of the lower house at which deputies called for the minister’s head.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who had tried to keep the planned cabinet changes under wraps, until consulting them with President Zeman on Wednesday, said he understood and accepted minister Ťok’s decision.

“It was never my intention to dismiss him. He is leaving at his own request and frankly, it does not surprise me, given the constant attacks against him. I think he did plenty of good work and deserves our thanks for it.”

The prime minister highlighted particularly the fact that since taking office in 2014 minister Ťok had successfully tackled long-standing problems with corruption and had halved the cost of highway construction. He refused to comment on who would be Dan Ťok’s successor, noting only that the post required a capable manager.

The prime minister was also tight-lipped on the planned cabinet reshuffle, refusing to comment on speculation that Trade and Industry Minister Marta Nováková would be replaced as well after mishandling a diplomatic incident at her ministry when a representative of Taiwan was asked to leave a meeting at the request of the Chinese ambassador.

Transport Minister Dan Ťok said with regard to his departure that he would leave the time-frame up to the prime minister, and there has been speculation that details of the cabinet reshuffle would be announced by mid-May at the latest, but given minister Ťok’s decision to jump the gun, the news may come sooner rather than later.

 
Author: Český rozhlas Radio Praha
 
Added: 09.04.2019
 
 
 

Related articles

 
News
 
 

What lies in store for the Eastern...

In 2009 the Eastern Partnership, a project seeking closer ties between the EU and its Eastern European...

 
 
News
 
 

Call highlights fears over Czech...

The Czech branch of the International Press Institute has called on MPs to exercise maximum...

 
 
News
 
 

Embattled Czech PM launches counter...

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has launched a massive counter-offensive to the preliminary EU audit...

 
 
News
 
 

Czech politicians condemn draft...

Czech politicians, including President Miloš Zeman, have condemned the draft Russian legislation stating...

 
Most favourite

History of Czech fine art

What happened in the realm of fine art at the very beginning of the Czech…

Climate

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country located in moderate geographical…

The most significant current discoveries

During the last decade, Czech science has made many revolutionary discoveries…

Czech language

The Czech language belongs to the group of West Slavic languages. From another…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

 
 

Facebook recent activity