Czech Labor Minister will be Michaela Marksová Tominová
The next Minister of Labor and Social Affairs is probably going to be Michaela Marksová Tominová, who until now has been the spokesperson for the Czech Social Democratic Party's (ČSSD) shadow government on issues of human rights and the family. Bohuslav Sobotka, the incoming premier and ČSSD head, has announced that he has decided to appoint her to his government.
The ČSSD press department has informed the Czech News Agency that the inner leadership circle of the party agreed on the nomination today. Sobotka said Marksová Tominová has long dedicated herself to social issues as an expert on various commissions in the party.
The nominee has already worked at the Labor Ministry, where she ran the Department of Family Policy. She has also worked at the Education Ministry.
According to the ČSSD head, the incoming minister will face "a minefield" at the Labor Ministry due to errors committed by the Nečas government which have reportedly created a desolate state of affairs there. The incoming PM is convinced Marksová Tominová will get the situation under control.
The new Labor Minister will have to resolve difficulties with the information system for disbursing welfare. The system that Labor Offices had been using for the last two years has been banned by the anti-monopoly authority because of errors in selecting the vendor.
The controversial "social cards" (sKarty) have also been cancelled. The Labor Minister-designate will have to negotiate with the operator of that system, the Česká spořitelna savings and loan corporation, about an eventual substitute for the "social card" project, which was stopped early in its development.
Changes to how social services are financed must be also designed. There is also a plan to cancel the pension reforms instituted by the Nečas government (the so-called "second pillar").
The Czech Republic also lacks social housing for the needy. Marksová Tominová has said she considers it key to revive the operations of the Labor Offices, to return to the original scheme for valorizing retirement pensions, to strengthen support for families with children, and to ensure that welfare is distributed without errors.
"I want to take advantage of all my experiences to date to enforce the priorities approved by the coalition agreement at the ministry as soon as possible," the Labor Minister-designate said. Sobotka met with five other candidates for the post before choosing her.
In addition to Marksová Tominová, four of the other candidates were Yvona Kubjátová, who has worked as a deputy to the Regional Governors of the Olomouc and South Bohemian Regions; Zlín Regional Councillor Taťána Valentová Nersesjan; former Central Bohemian Councillor Zuzana Jentschke Stöcklová; and Ivana Stráská. Valentová Nersesjan told the Czech News Agency today that she shares Marksová Tominová's views of social issues - "We agree there should be more intensive collaboration between the ministry and the Regional Authorities," said Valentová Nersesjan.
Czech President Miloš Zeman appointed Sobotka Prime Minister this afternoon. The ČSSD chair will now deliver his list of cabinet appointments to the president.
Vysočina Regional Councillor Petr Krčál, the original candidate to head the Labor Ministry, gave up his nomination earlier this week, citing serious personal reasons. "I am glad we have so many professionally qualified, unimpeachable female politicians in the ČSSD who are able to take up the role of minister," Sobotka said.
Biography of Michaela Marksová Tominová (age 44)
Date of birth: 20 March 1969
Education: Graduate of the Natural Sciences Faculty at Charles University.
Current employment and positions: Expert spokesperson for ČSSD on human rights and the family, member of the Prague 2 municipal council. Works as an educator at the Jedliček Institute on various projects helping women into the labor market.
Career: From 1997-2004 worked as the public relations director for the Gender Studies public benefit corporation, then led the Department of Family Policy at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (2004-2006) and the Department of Equal Opportunities in Schooling at the Education Ministry (2009-2010). From 2010-2012 she was vice-mayor of the Prague 2 Municipal Department.
Party affiliation: ČSSD, chair of the Prague 2 Municipal Department Executive Committee of ČSSD.
Family: Married with two children.
Other: Ms Marksová Tominová has long been interested in the relative positions of men and women in society, in questions of family policy and women's rights, in the situation of the Romani minority, etc. She lectures, makes media appearances, and publishes articles on these topics. In 2006 she was discussed as a potential candidate to direct the European Commission Representation in Prague. In 2010 she ran unsuccessfully for the Prague City Council. Last year she also made an unsuccessful bid for the lower house during early elections.
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