Andrej Babis

Petr Dubinsky

Babis Faces No-Confidence Vote

The meeting of the Chamber of Deputies to vote on no confidence of the government will take place on Thursday from 09:00, deputies of the coalition Spolu (ODS, KDU-ČSL, TOP 09) and Pirates and the STAN movement today handed over the necessary signatures to the chairman of the lower house to convene an extraordinary meeting. This was stated at the press conference of the parties by the first deputy chairman and chief of ODS deputies, Zbyněk Stanjura. The cabinet has not yet secured support.

President Miloš Zeman reiterated several times that even in the event of a loss of government confidence, the minority cabinet of YES and the CSSD will have until the October elections. The Communists, who tolerated the government until April, will not decide on the position until Thursday.

If the KSČM announced that it no longer wanted to support the cabinet, the government itself should have asked the Chamber of Deputies for trust, Stanjura said. If this did not happen, he said, it was the duty of the democratic opposition to convene a meeting to vote of no confidence. Representatives of five parties did not negotiate with the KSČM.

Among the reasons why the cabinet should no longer be trusted, representatives of the opposition mentioned the conflict of interests of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (YES), the uncontrollable coronavirus pandemic or the failure to provide clear support to the Allies due to the Vrbětice case. According to STAN chairman Vít Rakušan, the government is pushing for sternness, but not for itself, as evidenced by the fact that government anti-coronavirus regulations have been annulled several times by the courts.

During his visit to Ostrava today, Babiš reiterated that, according to him, the declaration of no confidence in the government is unnecessary four months before the elections. He stated that he was in contact with the chairman of the KSČM, Vojtěch Filip, who told him that the Communists would decide on the procedure only on the Thursday before the meeting of the Chamber of Deputies. When asked how he still wants to address members of the opposition or the Communists to support the government, he said that he mainly wants to address the electorate. “I would like to remind them that we were a relatively successful government until the arrival of the pandemic. When we started in 2017, we had the confidence of about 20 percent of the population. In 2019, forty percent,” he said. In the afternoon, the prime minister added that he originally felt that the KSČM would eventually leave the hall. “It doesn’t look like it now, they will decide on Thursday at the club. Of course I will get information, but now we can probably hardly convince anyone,” Babiš added. According to him, destabilization would be problems, because the government has a number of things to solve, whether it is a covid passport, the completion of vaccinations or the return of children to school. “The government needs to work all summer,” says Babiš.

If the Chamber expresses no confidence in the government, according to the chairman of the Pirates, Ivan Bartoš, it would be appropriate for the representatives of all parties to meet with Zeman on the further functioning of the lower house, especially at the legislative level. According to him, a government that does not have the trust guaranteed by the Chamber of Deputies must proceed much more cautiously in its proposals concerning personnel policy and other important decisions. According to Bartoš, Babiš would have to negotiate with parties in the Chamber of Deputies, including opposition ones.

At least 101 parliamentary votes are needed to overthrow the government, five opposition parties have 68. The SPD, with 19 deputies, and the Tricolor, which has three representatives in the lower house, also intend to vote against the government. There are also three other non-attached Members in the Chamber.