Babis To Keep Minister Names Secret Until CSSD Referendum

Andrej Babiš, ANO, CSSD, Jan Hamacek, Miloš Zeman

Prague/Usti nad Labem, North Bohemia, May 14 (CTK) – The ANO movement will not release the names of its ministers in their nascent government with the Social Democrats (CSSD) before their inter-party referendum, which starts next week, ANO chairman Andrej Babis said during a visit to the Usti Region today.


Babis’s ANO minority government resigned after it lost a confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies in January, but it keeps ruling, pending the formation of a new cabinet on which ANO has agreed with the Social Democrats. It is to be supported by the Communists (KSCM) to have a majority in the lower house.


Part of the CSSD politicians wanted to know the names of all ministers in the possible new coalition cabinet, arguing that this was necessary for the Social Democrats to make a qualified decision whether to enter such a government in their internal referendum.


The CSSD has promised to release the names of its five candidates for ministers.


“We will definitely not make the ministers’ names public. I will tell them to the president first, which is a custom,” Babis said.


The date of Babis’s meeting with President Milos Zeman has not been set yet. CSSD chairman Jan Hamacek has also asked for a meeting with Zeman that will take place on May 23, Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek wrote to CTK.


Babis also said he would like to meet Communist (KSCM) chairman Vojtech Filip whose party was to tolerate the ANO-CSSD minority government.


Filip said after a meeting of the KSCM’s leadership at the weekend that the Communists cannot support the government if the pledge to reinforce foreign military missions remained in its policy statement.


“The KSCM naturally talked about this in the past, but we did not consider it such a fundamental problem as it seems now,” Babis said, adding that he would like to meet Filip as soon as he had time.


Filip also said he would meet Babis to discuss the foreign missions as well as other KSCM’s objections to the policy statement.


The meeting is to be held after Thursday when he returns from Kazakhstan, Filip told CTK in Astana today.


The Social Democrats announced at the weekend that it was up to ANO as the general election winner to secure support for the minority government. They said ANO would sign the respective bilateral agreement with the KSCM on its toleration of the government, while the CSSD would not sign it.


However, former CSSD acting chairman and ex-interior minister Milan Chovanec criticised this approach. He said the Social Democrats would thereby guarantee an agreement that they would not know at all.


He called the signing of the toleration agreement by ANO only an attempt to circumvent the Bohumin resolution from 1995 that bans cooperation with the KSCM on the government level.