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Naming of new Czech culture minister averts political crisis

PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech president has appointed a new culture minister, ending a political dispute that could have caused the government to fall. President Milos Zeman swore in former Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek to the new Cabinet post on Tuesday after months of refusing to replace the previous culture minister with a candidate proposed by a partner party in the Czech Republic's coalition government.

The Social Democrats had repeatedly demanded to have the party's deputy chairman put in the job as a condition for staying in the government but last proposed Zaoralek as an alternative. Under the Czech Constitution, the president is supposed to grant the prime minister's appointment requests. The upper house of the Czech Parliament voted last month to bring charges against Zeman for his repeated failure to approve Prime Minister Andrej Babis' nominees.

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