Communists Threaten To Pull Support Over Military Policy

Vojtěch Filip KSCM

Prague, May 12 (CTK) – Czech Communists (KSCM) will not support the government that is being formed if its policy statement pledges to reinforce foreign military missions, party leader Vojtech Filip told journalists today.

 

He said the Communists would only decide on whether to tolerate the minority government of Prime Minister Andrej Babis’s ANO and the Social Democrats (CSSD) after the results of the Social Democrat referendum on whether to join the government were announced.

 

The results are to be published on June 15.

 

“If this remained a part of the government policy statement, the support from the KSCM would be impossible,” Filip said.

 

The draft policy statement includes a promise of reinforcing the Czech presence in Afghanistan and Iraq.

 

It also speaks about a contribution to the NATO armed forces in the Baltic states and the rapid response forces.

 

“The responsibility for forming the government is shouldered by ANO, which is also conducting talks with the KSCM on its tolerance of the government,” CSSD leader Jan Hamacek wrote in reaction to the Communist position.

 

Hamacek said at the talks of the Social Democrats with ANO, the former had been assured that all the questions of the policy statement had been resolved with the KSCM.

 

Defence Minister Karla Slechtova (ANO) said the Czech foreign missions did not have the combat character.

 

“Our foreign military missions are non-combat missions of the United Nations, NATO and the EU helping the local population and protecting the Czech Republic and Europe against the swelling of migrant waves,” Slechtova has tweeted.

 

“I presume that the maintenance of peace and stop to migration are in the interest of the whole Czech political scene,” she added.

 

Reacting to the KSCM position, the right-wing opposition has said the government in the making is threatening the Czech Republic’s Western orientation.

 

“Babis is evidently facing a choice. Either he should maintain the Czech Republic’s Western orientation and honor its allied commitments, or he should play in the Communists’ hands. This is his choice and responsibility to the public,” the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) leader, Petr Fiala, has tweeted.

 

“ANO and unfortunately, the CSSD, too, are ready to sell the Czech Republic’s Western orientation for the chairs in the government. We are before a government with the Communists’ knife on its neck,” TOP 09 leader Jiri Pospisil said.

 

Filip said he would inform Babis about the KSCM position and that he would like to negotiate a change in the clause on foreign missions.

 

He said the Communists would draft a formulation saying that the Czech Republic would respect the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council when sending its troops abroad and insert it either in the policy statement or the deal on the tolerance of the minority government.

 

Filip said within the deal on the government tolerance, the Communists would also insist on the places in the supervisory boards of state-run companies being divided according to the proportional representation in the Chamber of Deputies.

 

“If parties are to have responsibility for the state, they also must have influence on how state-managed companies work. This is not only an affair of the KSCM, but of the whole political scene, of all parties,” Filip said.

 

If formed, an ANO-CSSD cabinet would be a minority one, with 93 seats in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies. The KSCM, with 15 seats, previously promised to keep it afloat, and definitive negotiations in this respect are yet to be held.

 

Babis heads an ANO minority government established last December, which, however, lost a confidence vote in January.