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November 17, 2017 5:00 am | FILED UNDER: politics

President Zeman Stands Behind Babis Despite Calls for Removal

By ČTK

Lany, Central Bohemia, Nov 16 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman would assign ANO head Andrej Babis to form a cabinet again if his first try failed because Babis is the mastermind of ANO’s election success and is inseparable from ANO, Zeman told the STAN movement leaders today, STAN chairman Petr Gazdik told reporters.

 

STAN (Mayors and Independents) failed to persuade Zeman that choosing another member of ANO for prime minister would facilitate the establishment of a majority government.

ANO comfortably won the October general election but none of the other eight parties in parliament wants to ally with it in a majority government, except for the Communists (KSCM) and the anti-EU far-right SPD movement, which, however, ANO does not want for coalition partners.

 

Gazdik said today’s STAN-Zeman meeting, the last in Zeman’s series of separate post-election meetings with political parties’ leaders, focused on the proposal that mayors be elected directly by people, an idea the centrist STAN and Zeman share.

 

Gazdik and STAN deputies’ group head Jan Farsky asked Zeman why he vowed to give a second try to Babis if his first attempt to form a cabinet enjoying lawmakers’ confidence failed.

 

“It is evident that with a different nominee of ANO, a [government] coalition copying the outgoing one could arise,” Gazdik said, referring to the centre-left government of ANO, the Social Democrats (CSSD) and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL).

 

Both the CSSD and the KDU-CSL have refused to join a government of Babis and announced their departure into opposition, citing the prosecution Babis faces over a suspected EU subsidy fraud.

 

To explain his possible nodding to a second try of Babis, Zeman said Babis contributed most of all to ANO’s brilliant victory in the 20-21 October elections.

 

“Furthermore, [Zeman said] it is impossible to separate Andrej Babis from ANO. It is his view, and we respect it though we believe that it would unblock the situation if someone else were prime minister,” Gazdik said.

 

Politicians and observers are afraid that Zeman may let a possible second government of Babis govern for long without confidence being expressed for it by the Chamber of Deputies.

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