Civic Democrats Oppose Communists In Cabinet

Libeznice, Central Bohemia, May 26 (CTK) – The Czech Republic is close to having the first semi-communist government since 1989, and if such a cabinet emerges, the Civic Democrats (ODS) will not tolerate it and will oppose it, ODS chairman Petr Fiala said at the rightist party’s programme conference today.


He said since the October 2017 general election, in which the ODS finished second after Andrej Babis’s ANO movement, more and more people have viewed it as the main political alternative.


The ODS presented its election programme before the autumn Senate and local elections, with the motto Honest work, reasonable solutions.


“We are close to having the first semi-communist government in the Czech Republic since 1989 [fall of communism] and to the revival of Stalinists. We are close to having a government without a programme, without priorities and a clear policy – and the ODS os ready to represent and promote a programme alternative to such a government,” Fiala said, referring to the election-winning ANO’s effort to form a minority government with the Social Democrats (CSSD) that would be kept afloat by the Communists (KSCM).


An early election can be convoked only as a result of the respective constitutional procedure. The ODS is not afraid of it, nor would it allow itself be extorted or intimidated by the early election argument, Fiala said.


“I am critical of many steps taken by President Milos Zeman, but I would not support crackdowns on him for any of his provocations or manifestations of his pro-Russian stands. The ODS will not misuse the most serious provisions of our constitution as an instrument with which to gain publicity or manifest its political views,” Fiala said.


He reacted to senators from the Mayors and Independents (STAN) group who recently said they are preparing a constitutional lawsuit against Zeman over his statements about the alleged production of the Novichok poison in the Czech Republic.


The ODS conference also discussed the party’s campaign before the October elections to the municipal assemblies and to the Senate, in which one third of the house’s 81 seats will be contested.


In the welfare area, the ODS vows to make the services for seniors equal in all regions and enhance the services of mobile nurses. It promises an increase in pensions and introduce a pension calculation method that would better regard the sum the recipients paid in pension insurance while at their productive age.


Furthermore, the ODS wants to restrict the abuses of the housing benefits and enable welfare benefits to be withdrawn from the people who breach the peace.


In the area of education, the ODS promised to raise the quality of elementary schools and change the current system of inclusion in education that seeks handicapped kids’ integration in mainstream schools and that the ODS considers a failure.


It promised to extend the capacity of kindergartens but wants to abolish the compulsory character of the attendance of the last kindergarten grade before the child’s primary school entry, and also kindergartens’ duty to accept children from the age of two.


The ODS wants to promote a heritage protection law that would take the rights of the relevant sites’ owners into account.


“The owners should be helped if the state infringed upon their rights,” ODS deputy chairman Martin Baxa said.


The ODS presented its candidates in the Senate elections.


They include actor Vladimir Kratina and former police chief Martin Cervicek. The party will also support the candidacy of diplomat and unsuccessful presidential candidate Pavel Fischer and Masaryk University Rector Mikulas Bek, who are not ODS members.


In the 81-seat Senate, the upper house of parliament, the ODS has 10 seats out which four will be contested this autumn. Fiala said earlier that the ODS wants to defend all of them at the very least.


One of the ODS senators whose six-year mandate expires this year is Jaroslav Kubera, the house’s well-known deputy chairman and mayor of the town of Teplice, north Bohemia.