On Thursday, October 28, the President of the Republic Miloš Zeman appointed Jan Blatný as Minister of Health.
The previous minister, Roman Prymula, agreed to resign as soon as his successor was found after the tabloid press took photos of him breaking Covid restrictions as he left a restaurant in Prague’s Vyšehrad late at night, clutching his wallet while not wearing a mask.
During a press conference, Mr. Blatný admitted that in 2018 he signed a petition for the resignation of PM Babiš.
“I have signed several petitions in my life. I did not immediately recall the fact that I could have signed the petition organized by Million Moments for Democracy. Then I was contacted by one of their representative who confirmed the authenticity of my signature in 2018. I have no reason to hide it, I don’t think this should be an argument for discrediting my person. After all, everyone can express their opinion,“ said the new minister.
The petition was organized by Million Moments for Democracy, a Czech student campaign, and association which is analyzing and guarding Czech politics, organizing protests, and demonstrations. Its initial goal was a challenge to get one million signatures for the current Czech Prime Minister to resign.
“We, the undersigned, find it unacceptable that 71 years after the communist coup and 30 years after the Velvet Revolution, the Prime Minister of our country is a prosecuted person, and a former StB agent,“ the petition stated.
“Yes, I signed the petition. It’s important for me not to lie,“ said Blatný during his first government press conference on Friday.
“From the beginning, I had completely open communication with the Prime Minister. There are efforts to politicize this situation. I came as an expert and I can assure that my decisions will not be motivated by political views,“ he assures in a MF Dnes interview.
“I’ve been selected for this position because of my professional expertise,” he added.
“Jan Blatný is a healthcare expert. I always try to choose the best specialist for the government. It is important that we work together to tackle this pandemic that is plaguing the whole of Europe. Regardless of differing political views. Now is not the time for politicking,“ Babiš said to ČTK.