Chmel back in culture minister's seat

RUDOLF Chmel, a former Slovak culture minister who left his post last year, returned to his old job yesterday.

Chmel replaces František Tóth in the ministry, whom PM Mikuláš Dzurinda fired for allegedly misusing public money. Tóth sent around 66,000 letters to teachers across the country, thanking them for participating in one of the ministry's cultural projects. However, his cabinet colleagues said the letters were election promotion for Tóth and his fringe Nádej party.

Tóth repeatedly said he had done nothing wrong, and was a victim of the pre-election struggle for voter support. Slovakia holds general elections on June 17.

The new minister, who will run the ministry for two months until the elections, and depending on how fast the new government is formed may stay in office for up to six months, did not say what he plans to do in the relatively short time he will hold the post, the SME daily wrote.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
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