Prague - Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek said in an interview for today's daily Hospodářské noviny that he plans to reconstruct his cabinet after the second round of Senate by-elections this weekend.
"We need to decide whether we have communicated well or badly - and the answer will be badly. We have to decide whether we have made good or bad steps. Some steps will need to be changed, and with them also their protagonists. I hope this won't take anyone by surprise," the premier told the paper.
He did not specify who should leave or join the cabinet. Since last week's debacle of Topolánek's Civic Democrats (ODS) in regional elections there have been indications that Health Minister Tomáš Julínek might be replaced. The minister himself refuses to resign.
Topolánek yesterday cancelled a trip to the US scheduled for next week in order to focus on domestic affairs. The Czech premier was to discuss missile defence with George Bush and reopen the refurbished Bohemian National Hall in New York.
Critic offered cabinet seat
Petr Bendl, ODS deputy chairman and outgoing Central Bohemia governor, yesterday confirmed the seriousness of Topolánek's plans when he said that the premier had invited him to join the cabinet shortly after the elections.
"I really received an offer, although no specific post was mentioned," said Bendl. "I did not accept the offer because I believe it is essential that the ODS should engage in substantial self-reflection at the upcoming party congress."
Bendl, who is seen as Topolánek's critic and potential challenger, also thinks that some ministers should be replaced, but is not willing to mention specific names. "I hope they won't blame everything on Tomáš Julínek. I don't think it is just his face. This is of a larger dimension," Bendl told Aktuálně.cz.