Calls For Health Minister’s Resignation Following Evening Trip To Restaurant
Health Minister Roman Prymula was photographed by Czech tabloid Blesk leaving a restaurant on Thursday evening without a mask, in breach of several of his own ministry’s rules. Opposition figures are now calling for his resignation. Photo via Vlada.cz Archive.
Czech Rep., Oct 23 (BD) – Czech Minister of Health Roman Prymula is at the centre of a political storm today, following an apparent serious breach of his own strict anti-pandemic measures. Reporters for Czech tabloid Blesk spotted Prymula leaving a restaurant in Prague-Vyšehrad shortly before midnight on Thursday evening, walking next to his driver without a facemask. According to Prymula’s own rules, the restaurant should not even have been open, and facemasks must now be worn at all times in the presence of other people, even outside. Prymula was accompanied by MP Jaroslav Faltynek, the head of the ANO parliamentary group.
In his defence, Faltynek claimed that the meeting had taken place on Wednesday evening, before the new facemask rules came into force, and in a salon at the restaurant which had been left unlocked by the owner, according Radek Bartonicek of Aktualne.cz, writing on Twitter.
The response from the opposition, and even some members of the government, has been swift, with wide calls for Prymula’s resignation. Markéta Adamová Pekarová, leader of TOP 09, said: “People are dying every day. Our emergency services are caring for the sick on the verge of exhaustion. Thousands of households are trying to work out what they will live on. And in such a situation, the Minister of Health will violate all conceivable truths. Mr. Prymula, resign.” Her colleague Miroslav Kalousek also demanded his resignation, saying it was the only way to convince the public of the credibility of the measures.
The calls for Prymula’s resignation are also coming from inside the government, with Interior Minister Jan Hamacek and Culture Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (both CSSD) also calling for Prymula to step down.
Many of those responding to the news used the word “papalas”, a term often applied to Communist-era politicians who applied strict regulations to the public and ignored them for themselves. Vit Rakusan, head of the STAN group, made the comparison clear, Tweeting: “Remember the pigs from Orwell’s Animal Farm? That’s exactly how it is here. Everyone is equal, but some are more equal. These papaláši cannot properly lead our state in a crisis, not only managerially, but mainly morally. Trust is the foundation. You can’t rule without it. Resign.”