Communists Object To PM Babis’s Proposal To Expel Russian DiplomatsČTK
Prague, March 23 (CTK) – PM Andrej Babis (ANO) and Communist (KSCM) chairman Vojtech Filip discussed today a possible expulsion of Russian diplomats in reaction to Moscow connecting the Czech Republic with the poison used in an attack on a former agent in Britain, Filip told reporters after the meeting.
He said he hoped that the next government tolerated by the KSCM would not make such decisions without the Communist Party’s consent.
Babis, whose ANO minority government resigned after it lost a confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies in January, is negotiating about the formation of his second government with the Social Democrats (CSSD), supported by the Communists.
Russian diplomacy said last week that the Novichok nerve agent used in an attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Britain earlier in March may come from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Britain or Sweden.
Babis, who did not talk to journalists after a meeting with Filip, will discuss a possible expulsion of Russian diplomats with Foreign Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) on Monday.
“The result is up to the government ruling in resignation, and not the government that the KSCM would support,” Filip said, adding that he would not like to issue any ultimata.
“If this government decides in another way, then we hope the next cabinet that the KSCM would tolerate would not make such decisions without the KSCM’s consent,” Filip said.
He is of the view that the expulsion of diplomats would be premature until the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter is duly investigated.
On the contrary, Social Democrat (CSSD) chairman Jan Hamacek said solidarity must be expressed with Britain that suspected Russia of the attack and had already expelled a group of its diplomats.
Babis and Filip also made some social and foreign policy issues clear at their meeting.
Filip reiterated that there were discrepancies in foreign policy between ANO and the KSCM due to which the Communists would not like to join Babis’s second government, but would be willing to tolerate it under certain circumstances.
They also discussed progressive taxation, which ANO opposed, Filip added.
“We have so far only agreed on some steps to lead to the Czech Republic striving for the possibility to solve sector taxes in insurance and possibly banking sectors in Europe,” Filip said.
He noted that he expected the trilateral talks of ANO, the CSSD and the KSCM to focus on taxes as well. They are to start next week, probably on Tuesday.
Filip said he would inform the KSCM’s broader leadership on the progress in the talks with ANO.