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The Politics of Appointment of Top Civil Servants: Career Backgrounds and Civil Service Politicization in the Czech Republic


This contribution seeks to answer the question whether the new civil service legislation that entered into force in 2015 in the Czech Republic led to the depoliticization of the country’s ministerial bureaucracy. To that end, we compare the career backgrounds of top civil servants before and after the entry into force of the new Civil Service Act. The article examines the career backgrounds of the persons appointed as ministerial deputies between 2013 and 2018, focusing on their last “pre-deputy” jobs and considering a broader set of their career attributes. A focus on the previous job reveals that even before the law was introduced, bureaucrats constituted the largest share of appointees, and their share even increased with the new legislation. The incidence of deputies appointed directly from party-related jobs dropped considerably. However, when a broader set of career attributes is considered, the share of partisans among the pre-2015 deputies nearly matches that of the career bureaucrats. Ostensibly political careers among the post-2015 deputies declined but remain significant. Hence, there has been a decline in the open politicization of the ministerial bureaucracy after 2015. Party political effects also matter, as the new ANO party, after entering the executive, has taken a different approach to top bureaucratic appointments than the other major governing Czech parties. Typically, deputies appointed into the positions under the ANO’s control would not have links to the party itself but would be recruited via non-party channels, e.g. from pre-political networks of the ANO ministers and leaders. Consequently, though less politicized by party agents, the current Czech system is more a product of choices made by government ministers of the day than a stable arrangement resulting from firmly established norms and rules.

Calendario de la edición:
2 veces al año
Temas de la revista:
Social Sciences, Political Science, Local Government and Administration