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Prague - Sedláček confirmed in the online daily Aktuálně.cz that KDU-ČSL chairman Jiří Čunek offered him the post of finance minister now held by Miroslav Kalousek. Sedláček's answer was "yes" - unlike the reaction of Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek who said he didn't believe the information about such a change at the Finance Ministry.
"In response to Deputy Prime Minister Čunek's offer, I said that I regard the change of ministers as an internal affair of the KDU-ČSL. I appreciate minister Kalousek's work and think that it should continue in some areas," said Tomáš Sedláček who worked as advisor to Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (ČSSD) and to president Václav Havel before joining the bank ČSOB.
Sedláček said that he is willing to accept the post if it is approved by the KDU-ČSL national conference that will probably discuss the change of ministers on Saturday. "I am available," he added.
Čunek versus Kalousek
The national conference is to resolve the conflict between the two most influential KDU-ČSL members - Čunek and Kalousek. Čunek's proposal to dismiss the finance minister came in reaction to the news that Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek wanted to remove Čunek from the post of the regional development minister and eliminate him from the government this way.
Čunek wishes that such a fate would befall Kalousek, his main rival in the party and the KDU-ČSL member closest to Topolánek.
Čunek wants to exercise his right as chairman of a coalition party who, under the coalition agreement, is the only one who can propose a replacement of a minister from his party. The prime minister does not have to accept the proposal.
Kalousek himself has learnt about the information that his own boss wants to dismiss him from press reports. "At about 1:30pm the chairman confirmed to me that he did submit that proposal. I have taken the information into account," Kalousek said in a press release, adding that he would not provide further comments on the issue.
Prime Minister: I do not believe it
Mirek Topolánek regards the information about Kalousek's possible departure as fictitious.
"If Jiří Čunek really said, and I do not believe he did, that he wants to replace the best minister that KDU-ČSL has ever had in the government, then I would just smile at that. The discussion is heading for a somewhat different direction and I do not regard it necessary to disclose it here and now," he said.
Adapted and republished by Prague Daily Monitor.