Babis’s Coalition Government In Jeopardy Over Foreign Minister Nominee

Andrej Babiš, Jan Hamacek, Miloš Zeman, Miroslav Poche, Vojtech Filip

Prague, June 17 (CTK) – The Social Democrats (CSSD) have done the maximum in the talks on a coalition government with ANO, they have nowhere to retreat and the dispute about ministerial posts might end the government plan, their chairman Jan Hamacek said on Prima TV today.


Hamacek said so in connection with the nomination of CSSD MEP Miroslav Poche for foreign minister in the nascent ANO-CSSD cabinet, which President Milos Zeman as well as the Communists (KSCM), who should tolerate the ANO-CSSD minority government in a confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies, opposed.


This is why PM Andrej Babis (ANO) called on Poche on Saturday not to strive for the government post.


Poche said he was not considering giving up his nomination for foreign minister.


Hamacek said in the Duel discussion programme of Prima that Babis as PM and ANO head should deal with the current situation.


“The atmosphere in the (CSSD) deputy group is as following: We have fulfilled all that was expected,” Hamacek said, referring to the principles of the coalition cooperation on which the CSSD agreed with ANO.


The PM should respect the Social Democrats’ personnel proposals for ministers, Hamacek said. “If we violated these principles even before we started cooperation, this would be a problem,” he added.


On Saturday, Babis questioned Poche’s nomination several hours after the Social Democrats announced the result of their intra-party referendum, in which they approved their entry into a coalition government with ANO.


Babis said he would not propose Poche for foreign affairs minister to Zeman since this would stir up a constitutional crisis. Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek tweeted on Saturday that Zeman would never appoint Poche as foreign minister.


Zeman previously criticised Poche for questioning both the rejection of the migrant quotas and the pro-Israeli policy, which were the two fundamental courses of Czech foreign policy.


Hamacek said he believed that a meeting between Zeman and Poche might solve the conflict. It should take place after Babis submits the names of the CSSD-proposed ministers to Zeman.


Hamacek did not rule out today that the ANO-CSSD government might not be formed eventually due to the dispute about posts. The candidates for ministers were known for a few weeks, but the objections to them emerged only now, he added.


Opposition Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman Petr Fiala, another guest to the TV debate, primarily pointed out that the constitutional principles should be respected and that not the president, but the prime minister and the coalition parties should decide on the government lineup.


Fiala also reminded of Babis’s criminal prosecution on suspicion of an EU subsidy fraud, which he said had frustrated the government talks since the last October general election.


Most of the parties in parliament refused to form a coalition with Babis over his prosecution.