Credit: Vlá

PM Fiala Welcomes Pavel Tuleja’s Withdrawal of Nomination For Science Minister

Economist and former university rector Pavel Tuleja (TOP 09) has given up his nomination for Czech Minister for Science and Research, explaining in a statement sent to CTK this afternoon that no member of the government should have doubts hanging over them.

PM Petr Fiala (ODS) welcomed Tuleja’s decision not to seek the ministerial post.

Fiala had already told CTK this morning that Tuleja must clear up all ethical doubts surrounding his scientific publications. He wrote on social media after Tuleja’s decision that these doubts would have become a burden for the government.

TOP 09 leader and Chamber of Deputies chair Marketa Pekarova Adamova said that she appreciated that Tuleja had assessed the situation and demonstrated high standards of political responsibility. He could not ignore the mistakes, she wrote to CTK.

Tuleja has faced criticism for publishing his scientific work in so-called predatory journals, which work on a pay-to-publish model and do not meet widely accepted academic standards. Some representatives of the academic community have pointed to the poor quality of his professional work in the field of economics.

Tuleja said he considered it necessary to take responsibility for his mistakes.

“In recent days, several of my failures have come to light, of which I had not been aware, but which I do not want to and cannot relativise,” said Tuleja. “The political culture in our country is extremely important to me and I consider it obvious to draw political responsibility from this. No minister should be burdened with doubts about their capability to hold office, and I am therefore giving up my nomination for minister of science, research and innovations in the Government of the Czech Republic.”

“I have always said that if there are any doubts about the appointment of a member of the government, they must be clarified so as not to burden the performance of their duties,” said Fiala. “Doubts about the ethics of scientific work and the need for further explanations would be burdensome, especially for a minister who is supposed to be engaged in science and research. I believe that TOP 09 will propose a new candidate in the near future.”

“The TOP 09 executive committee selected and approved [Tuleja] as a nominee for minister of science, research and innovations because of his professional experience and expertise,” Pekarova Adamova told CTK. “Unfortunately, in the past few days, several of his mistakes have come to light, which he could not ignore. I appreciate the fact that he quickly assessed the entire situation and showed the high standards of political responsibility which TOP 09 pursues.” 

She did not elaborate on how TOP 09 would continue to seek a successor to Helena Langsadlova.

Fiala told CTK earlier that if there was any change in the candidacy, he would inform the Presidential Office. President Petr Pavel was due to appoint the new science minister on Monday.

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