Breaking: Czech Minister of Health Arenberger resigns, former minister Adam Vojtěch tagged to replace him

As current minister Arenberger steps down under media scrutiny, a familiar face could return to lead the Czech Health Ministry.

Expats.cz

Written by Expats.cz
Published on 25.05.2021 10:34 (updated on 25.05.2021)

Petr Arenberger, the Czech Health Minister embroiled in media scrutiny due to property irregularities, is leaving office – and will likely be replaced by former Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtěch who Prime Minister Andrej Babiš will appoint for the role.

Babiš announced the transition this morning.

"I can already say that the minister will not be the fifth, but the fourth and it will be Adam Vojtěch. In September, after the burden of Covid, he decided to leave. I was sorry, I think he was a very good minister. We have now agreed that he will take office and remain in the position of the minister until the end of this government," Babiš said during a Tuesday morning briefing.

Vojtěch unexpectedly resigned in September 2020 following a spike in COVID-19 cases in the country. Babiš said that Vojtěch's appointment has yet to be discussed with President Miloš Zeman. 

Arenberger faced criticism for withholding information about his property. According to Babiš, the minister has decided to resign due to pressure on the family. Arenberger was appointed Minister by Minister Miloš Zeman on April 7; on May 16 the president stated that he would have nothing against his dismissal.

Which Czech Health Minister has done the best job managing the Covid crisis?

Adam Vojtěch 60 %
Roman Prymula 14 %
Jan Blatný 19 %
Petr Arenberger 7 %
167 readers voted on this poll. Voting is open

Arenberger's predecessor Jan Blatný, who was dismissed in April, was in office for just five months with PM Babiš criticizing the tough conditions his ministry set for using experimental Covid-19 medicines and the procedure accompanying a tender for the supply of Covid test kits for schools.

Blatný's predecessor Roman Prymula stepped down in October 2020 after Czech tabloid Blesk published photographs of him leaving a Prague restaurant without a face mask.

Prymula, himself an epidemiologist, had been one of the Czech Republic's most prominent figures during the COVID-19 epidemic.

At that time he was appointed, he served as Deputy Health Minister under Health Minister Adam Vojtěch. In mid-May, Prymula resigned from that post; the Prime Minister later offered him the role of Government Plenipotentiary for Science and Research in Health Care, which he held from June to September.

In February 2021 Babiš ended his cooperation with Prymula as an adviser due to the latter attending a Slavia football match.

The PM said of the outgoing health minister's resignation: "I accept this and thank him for accepting this position shortly before the election. It is not easy to be the Minister of Health, but he performed the function with the care of the responsible minister, he worked, he tried to explain things in the media," adding that the resignation was agreed upon mutually.

According to ČTK, Arenberger has called a press briefing for Tuesday, May 25 at 11:00 a.m.

This is a developing story.

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