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Cunek returns to Czech government, Schwarzenberg stays in it

Prague, 1.4.2008 17:49, (ROMEA/CTK)

Jiri Cunek, leader of the Czech Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), is returning to the posts of deputy prime minister and local development minister he left last November over corruption allegations, Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek told journalists today.

Topolanek (senior ruling Civic Democrats, ODS) said he expected President Vaclav Klaus to appoint Cunek on Wednesday.

Klaus's spokesman Petr Hajek said the president will appoint Cunek on Topolanek's request.

Cunek's family finances are to be checked by an auditing firm. This is the result of an agreement with Karel Schwarzenberg, who was against Cunek's return.

Schwarzenberg (for the junior ruling Greens) stays in the cabinet. He wanted Cunek to clearly explain his financial situation.

Schwarzenberg said if the audit shows the finances are not transparent and in order, he would leave the cabinet.

Cunek said today he would not oppose the possible release of the audit. "It is up to Karel Schwarzenberg what he will do with the audit," he said.

He said he did not mind the audit as he considered his family finances several times checked and clear.

The feuds over Cunek's return had affected the coalition cabinet for several months.

Last December, the Christian Democrats renominated Cunek to all his government posts, while the Greens and Schwarzenberg were against the plan.

Leaders of the three-party government today said it was a good thing a generally accepted compromise was found.

Greens chairman Martin Bursik said the agreement reached today included the issue of Cunek's statements about Romanies. In the past months, Cunek was repeatedly criticised for his controversial words about Czech Romanies.

Bursik said the Greens hoped that the problem would not appear anymore. Cunek did not comment on the issue.

Topolanek said earlier the Christian Democrats had the right to have their leader in the government. He also said he did not want the coalition to crumble or Schwarzenberg to leave it.

Last December, a court acquitted Cunek of all corruption charges.

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