Former Czech foreign minister to become new culture minister

PRAGUE — The Czech president has agreed to appoint a newly proposed candidate for a Cabinet minister, defusing a dispute that could have caused the government to fall.

President Milos Zeman is ready to appoint former Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek as the country's new culture minister, his spokesman says.

Since May, Zeman has rejected the original candidate proposed by the Social Democratic Party, a junior partner in the governing coalition led by Prime Minister Andrej Babis.

The Social Democrats previously said the appointment of Michal Smarda, the party's deputy chairman, was a condition for their staying in the government.

But Smarda gave up his nomination earlier this week and the Social Democrats proposed Zaoralek on Wednesday.

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