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February 20, 2018 6:04 pm | FILED UNDER: politics

PM Babis Struggles to find Support for Government

By ČTK Andrej Babis

Prague, Feb 20 (CTK) – The Czech Prime Minister in resignation Andrej Babis (ANO) reiterated today that support of the Communists (KSCM) and Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) during his second try to form a government was not his preferred alternative.

 

Babis’s ANO minority government failed to win confidence of the Chamber of Deputies and resigned. President Milos Zeman entrusted him to lead talks on a new cabinet.

 

Babis pointed out that he did not agree with the SPD’s intention to hold a referendum on the Czech Republic’s departure from the European Union (EU). The SPD calls this its fundamental programme priority.

 

Babis also said he would like to negotiate with the Social Democrats (CSSD) on support for his second government, but he did not say what he would be willing to offer to them.

 

“Definitely not in the government. We are speaking about tolerance and those are naturally not our preferred alternatives,” Babis said about possible cooperation with the KSCM and the SPD.

 

Babis’s ANO and the KSCM have different views of foreign policy. The KSCM’s course leads too much eastwards, according to Babis.

 

As far as the SPD is concerned, ANO does not share its view of possible referenda on foreign political issues.

 

While the talks with the SPD have basically ended, the negotiations between the ANO and KSCM teams will continue, Babis added.

 

He said he would meet the newly elected CSSD chairman and first deputy chairman, Jan Hamacek and Jiri Zimola, on Wednesday. However, Babis said he would not like to make any offers to the Social Democrats then.

 

“We will ask the Social Democrats first whether they want to join a government with us. The answer will be either yes or no. If it is no, then we will ask about the programme deals on the basis of which they want to tolerate the formation of our government. If the answer to the first question is yes, we will ask under what conditions. And further talks will depend on this,” Babis said.

 

He ruled out that ANO would meet the demand of the CSSD and other parties that he should not be in the government due to his prosecution over an EU subsidy fraud. Moreover, Babis is suspected of collaboration with the Communist secret police (StB).

 

“We have put it clearly that I am ANO’s only candidate for prime minister,” he said.

 

The Social Democrats, Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) and Mayors and Independents (STAN) consider Babis’s prosecution an obstacle to their government cooperation with ANO. Together with these parties, ANO would command a comfortable majority in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies.

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