Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis


Babis to Make Few Changes Before 2nd Attempt – Thinks 1 Party Cabinet Most Practical

Prague, (CTK) – Czech PM and ANO leader Andrej Babis would prefer a minority government variant also in his possible second try to form a government, he says in an interview with daily Pravo out today, adding that a one-party cabinet is more practical.


Babis, whose ANO movement scored a sweeping victory in the October general election, admitted that his minority cabinet of ANO, appointed on December 13, might not win the Chamber of Deputies’ confidence in a vote due next week.


He said he had no other choice than to form a minority cabinet in a situation where the other parties in parliament repeatedly rejected government cooperation with ANO, which commands 78 votes in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies.


Pravo writes about President Milos Zeman’s previous pledge to give Babis a second try if his first cabinet fails in the Chamber of Deputies.


Before appointing Babis PM-designate again, Zeman wants to give him enough time for negotiations, Pravo writes, and asks Babis whether his first cabinet might continue ruling in resignation for many months before his second cabinet is appointed and asks for the lower house’s vote of confidence.


In response, Babis mentions the first government of Mirek Topolanek (Civic Democrats, ODS), which ruled in resignation for almost half a year after losing a confidence vote in 2006.


He does not completely rule out that his current cabinet may make it though, because he is going to update the its policy statement also to include some programme points proposed by other parties in parliament.


“Who knows, maybe the deputies will want to be fulfilling the programme based on which people cast their votes for them,” Babis told the daily.


He dismissed fears of an early general election, which, he said, Zeman has ruled out and ANO is not interested in it either.


In his possible second government-forming attempt, he would definitely prefer forming a minority government again.


“I was a part of a coalition government and it was horror…A minority government is surely more practical…It is a coherent team whose members communicate with each other, do not spite each other, and if quarrelling, they do so behind the closed door…The ministers do not tweet during cabinet meetings nor do they seek journalists to defame coalition partners,” said Babis, who was deputy PM and finance minister in the previous centre-left cabinet of the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL).


Babis would not speculate on which ministries he would leave to the CSSD if it decided to join ANO’s possible second government, a variant which observers view as probable.


“The question is what will happen with the CSSD’s 15 deputies after the party’s national congress in February, whether they will remain a single team or become rivals to each other,” Babis said, alluding to internal turbulences in the CSSD following its October election debacle and ahead its February congress that is to elect a new party leadership.