Agriculture Minister Nekula Resigns, Likely To Be Replaced by MP Marek Vyborny

Explaining his resignation, Nekula (pictured) said he had not felt supported by the KDU-CSL leadership in recent weeks. Photo credit: 

Prague, June 15 (CTK) – Agriculture Minister Zdenek Nekula (KDU-CSL) has tendered his resignation as of the end of June to PM Petr Fiala, he told the media today. KDU-CSL leader Marian Jurecka said the party will nominate its deputy group head Marek Vyborny for the vacant post.

Vyborny’s nomination has been proposed by the KDU-CSL board, and still has to be confirmed by the party’s broader leadership.

Explaining his resignation, Nekula said he had not felt supported by the KDU-CSL leadership in recent weeks.

Jurecka said he had discussed the replacement with PM Fiala (ODS) and asked him to discuss the issue with President Petr Pavel so that Vyborny could take up the ministerial post from 1 July. Vyborny said he was ready to accept the post.

Fiala’s next regular meeting with Pavel is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Nekula said that as agriculture minister he tried to take steps to ensure a positive future for the Czech countryside, even though they were not always popular. “I needed to feel strong support from the party leadership, which I have been lacking in recent months,” he said, without elaborating.

Jurecka, who is deputy PM, labour and social affairs minister, and formerly agriculture minister, said the KDU-CSL board had backed Vyborny for agriculture minister.

Fiala told CTK that he respects the KDU-CSL’s right to propose a new candidate for agriculture minister, adding that Vyborny is an experienced politician with moral credibility who would be a great contribution to the cabinet.

The new minister must work hard to make food cheaper and thus help further reduce inflation, Fiala said, adding that he believes that Vyborny “will be up to this important mission.”

As a former KDU-CSL leader and the current chair of the KDU-CSL parliamentary group, Vyborny is widely respected by fellow politicians, said Jurecka, adding that these are good prerequisites to stay in the ministerial post until the end of the government’s term in office in 2025.

He said Vyborny’s successor as the leader of the KDU-CSL parliamentary group must be decided by the party’s MPs.

Vyborny added that the matter was discussed today in a closed meeting of the group’s leadership. “I have an idea in this respect, but I will first communicate it to my fellow KDU-CSL MPs,” Vyborny said.

Nekula has been agriculture minister since January 2022. He is the second KDU-CSL minister to leave his post during the current cabinet, the first being Anna Hubackova, who resigned as environment minister for health reasons last year, to be replaced by Petr Hladik this spring. Of KDU-CSL’s original three ministers in the five-party, 18-seat cabinet, only Jurecka remains in office.

Environmentalists said the outgoing minister Nekula has pushed through positive changes in the system of farming subsidies, though weakened by a number of exemptions. The subsidies, nevertheless, have still failed to boost farming methods resistant to the impacts of climate change, wrote Martin Rexa from Friends of the Earth in a press release.

He praised the Nekula-led Agriculture Ministry for starting cooperation with the Environment Ministry, and called for this cooperation to be further enhanced. “The Ministry of Agriculture should not put itself in opposition to environmental protection, but should accept that only with the support of nature can agriculture be truly sustainable in the long term,” Rexa said.

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