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April 10, 2018 12:00 am | FILED UNDER: politics

Opposition Backlash As Zeman Directs Babis To Negotiate With Extremist SPD

By ČTK Milos Zeman Andrej Babis

Prague, April 10 (CTK) – Czech opposition parties’ leaders criticised President Milos Zeman’s recommendation today that the election-winning ANO should negotiate on a new government with the Communists (KSCM) and the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) movement, and labelled the SPD extremist.

 

They reacted to a meeting Zeman and ANO leader Andrej Babis held in the presidential chateau of Lany, near Prague, this evening.

 

On Wednesday afternoon, Zeman will receive KSCM chairman Vojtech Filip, and on Thursday, he will receive SPD chairman Tomio Okamura.

 

“The SPD extremists’ presence in the government would harm the Czech Republic’s reputation in Europe. By launching negotiations with them, Andrej Babis would confirm that…the only thing he strives for is the post of prime minister,” Social Democrat (CSSD) chairman Jan Hamacek has tweeted.

 

The CSSD negotiated on forming a joint minority government with the KSCM’s support in the past weeks, but the talks collapsed last week over ANO’s refusal to withdraw Babis’s nomination for prime minister, in spite of the prosecution he faces over a suspected subsidy fraud, and to cede the Interior Ministry to the CSSD.

 

Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman Petr Fiala tweeted that an informal coalition of ANO, the KSCM and the SPD has been reliably functioning since after the October general election, Zeman being its chief mastermind.

 

“There is nothing surprising about Zeman’s continuing preference of it. It is up to Andrej Babis to decide whether he wants to take responsibility for a government supported by extremists and communists,” Fiala wrote.

 

TOP 09 chairman Jiri Pospisil said Zeman did not surprise him today as he continues backing Babis in his government-forming attempts.

 

Zeman’s effort to get the extremist SPD movement involved in the government is not surprising either, Pospisil said, adding that the SPD significantly contributed to Zeman’s re-election as president in January.

 

Earlier today, Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) chairman Pavel Belobradek said he will propose to solve the government crisis by forming a minority government of the ODS, Pirates, the CSSD, the KDU-CSL, TOP 09 and the Mayors and Independents (STAN). It would have 85 seats in parliament, seven more than the number of seats occupied by ANO, the winner of the October 2017 general election.

 

Leaders of the six parties, out of the lower house’s nine, are to meet on Wednesday.

 

In the 200-seat house, the strongest ANO has 78 seats, followed by the ODS (25), the Pirates and the SPD (22 each), the KSCM and the CSSD (15 each), the KDU-CSL (10), TOP 09 (7) and STAN (6).

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