Babis Pitches Ministry Picks to President Zeman Today

Prague, Nov 27 (CTK) – Andrej Babis, chairman of the election-winning ANO and next PM, will present the proposals for ministers in his nascent minority cabinet to President Milos Zeman at their meeting at Prague Castle, the presidential seat, on Tuesday afternoon.


Both politicians will also discuss the dates of the appointment of Babis as prime minister, and the subsequent appointment of his cabinet.


Babis refused to comment on the his government lineup so far.


At the weekend, he only said on his Facebook profile that he was yet to fill the post of education minister, while he had made up his mind as far as other sectors are concerned.


Babis said previously that the ministers for his ANO in the outgoing government would continue, in particular Richard Brabec (environment), Dan Tok (transport), Martin Stropnicky (defence), Robert Pelikan (justice) and Karla Slechtova (regional development), but not all of them would head the same sector.


Speculations emerged about current Deputy Finance Minister Alena Schillerova to head the Finance Ministry. The press wrote that Slechtova might become defence minister instead of Stropnicky who would be a new diplomacy head.


After the October 20-21 election, President Milos Zeman entrusted Basis to lead talks on a new government. Babis then announced that he would like to form a minority cabinet, including also unaffiliated experts, as other parties refused to join a coalition with him.


However, some of the parties in parliament say ANO has not negotiated with them about government cooperation at all.


The outgoing coalition government of the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) headed by Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD) will tender a resignation on Wednesday, then a new government can be formally appointed.


Zeman said last week he would like to appoint Babis as prime minister on December 6, meet individual candidates for ministers then and appoint the whole minority government around December 15.


This might complicate the Czech participation in the EU regular summit to be held on December 14-15 and deal primarily with Brexit and the future of the remaining EU 27.


After the appointment, the new government must ask the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament, for confidence within 30 days. If Babis used the whole deadline, the vote of confidence would take place at the time of the first round of the direct presidential election scheduled for January 12-13, 2018.


Babis said he would like to win support of other parties for his government and persuade them by including some of their programme points into its policy statement. However, no party in parliament has promised to support Babis’s minority cabinet yet. Only the Communists (KSCM) said they would be willing to tolerate it under certain conditions.


If the Babis government did not gain confidence, a new cabinet must be formed. Zeman said previously he would charge Babis with this task again.