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April 12, 2018 6:35 pm | FILED UNDER: politics

Babis’s ANO Stands Divided: Debates Cooperation With Communists, Extremist SPD

By ČTK Andrej Babis and Milos Zeman

Prague, April 12 (CTK) – At least nine deputies of Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis’s ANO are reluctant to support his government that would be backed by the Communists (KSCM) and the anti-EU Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), the daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes today.

 

The idea of a government relying on a majority in the Chamber of Deputies, supported by President Milos Zeman, may face some trouble, LN writes.

 

In order to gain the required 101 votes in the 200-member lower house, at least 64 out of the 78 deputies for ANO must raise their hands for it.

 

However, opposition against the “red-brown” government is gaining momentum in ANO. The number of lawmakers who would not support such a government is growing, LN writes.

 

These are nine politicians, including three ministers.

 

Disagreement with such a coalition is rising even in Babis’ close team where one can hear the fear that the cooperation with Tomio Okamura’s SPD might lower the party’s preferences.

 

The idea is opposed by Transport Minister Dan Tok, Foreign Minister Martin Stropnicky, Justice Minister Robert Pelikan, the influential governor of the Moravia-Silesia Region, Ivo Vondrak, and the party’s candidate for Prague mayor Patrik Nacher.

 

“From the beginning, I have insisted on the view that when it comes to the content, a centre-right government would be the most logical alternative,” Nacher told the paper.

 

“In the fragmented Chamber of Deputies, it could rely on two deputy groups [of ANO and Civic Democratic Party (ODS)],” Nacher said.

 

“From this viewpoint, I am not a proponent of the alternative along with the KSCM and SPD,” he added.

 

Zeman solely prefers the cooperation of ANO with the Communists and the SPD, LN writes.

 

This is why he does not want to invite the Social Democrats, who may be ready to continue with their talks with ANO, to the negotiating table, it adds.

 

It is clear to Zeman that a coalition of ANO, the KSCM and SPD would harm the unity of ANO. This would weaken Babis and this may be the target of Zeman’s current manoeuvring. He wants to gain the dominant position on the scene, having under his control the establishment and heading of the new government, LN writes.

 

The cooperation with the Communists and the SPD would harm ANO in the eyes of some of its voters. Besides, it would damage Babis’s international reputation, it adds.

 

The daily Hospodarske noviny (HN), too, writes that some ANO deputies are against the proposed government.

 

“I have a substantial problem with this, as have some of my colleagues. I am ready to put up with support from the Communists, but that from the SPD is problematic for me,” ANO deputy Premysl Malis told the paper.

 

He said roughly one-third of the ANO deputy group are against support from Okamura.

 

A number of ANO deputies are saying they have not made up their mind when it comes to the possible vote on the proposed government, HN writes.

 

Some members of the ANO board such as the ANO deputy chairman and Mayor of Brno, Petr Vokral, are also against the idea.

 

“For me, the SPD is an extremist party that may push the Czech Republic into isolation,” ANO deputy Ivo Vondrak told the paper.

 

At least ten ANO deputies are against the plan, HN writes, referring to its own poll among them.

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