Prague, March 29 (CTK) – Negotiations on forming a new Czech government of ANO and the Social Democrats (CSSD) have further progressed in terms of programme consensus, but personnel issues remain a considerable problem, CSSD chairman Jan Hamacek told media after a meeting of ANO and CSSD negotiators today.
He said a recent CSSD congress voiced reservations about the idea of the new cabinet including a prosecuted person.
The reservations aimed at Andrej Babis, chairman of the election-winning ANO movement and ANO’s candidate for prime minister, who faces prosecution over a suspected EU subsidy fraud.
ANO deputy chairman Richard Brabec, however, told reporters that Babis remains and will remain ANO’s only candidate for prime minister.
Hamacek said ANO has taken a week to discuss and offer a solution. The CSSD leadership will meet next Friday to assess the offer.
Hamacek indicated that the CSSD would withdraw from the negotiations unless ANO gave up the nomination of Babis for prime minister or gave the post of either the interior or finance minister to the CSSD.
“Let one week pass for the ANO movement to make up its mind on whether its goal is to form a joint government and whether there is an obstacle that can be removed and under what conditions. It is up to their decision now,” Hamacek said.
Brabec said the programme and personnel issues and the candidate for prime minister are closely inter-connected and it is impossible to tear only one of these aspects out of the context.
“We will discuss the situation during the Easter holidays. We have one week and we will spend it intensively discussing the things,” Brabec said.
Nevertheless, ANO definitely will not give up its decision that no one but Babis can be prime minister, Brabec added.
The next ANO-CSSD meeting is scheduled for Thursday.
“We will see what they will come up with. Their proposal will be assessed by the CSSD leadership [on Friday]…The CSSD [leadership] will take a clear stance on Friday and we will present the stance at the congress,” Hamacek said, referring to the second part of the party’s extraordinary congress that started in mid-February and will continue on Saturday, April 7.
The CSSD still insists on its demand of five seats of ministers, while ANO has offered four to it.
Apart from the ministries of interior or finance, which the CSSD wants to control in order to prevent the conflict of interests on the part of prosecuted Babis, Hamacek also mentioned the posts of the labour and social affairs minister and the health minister as those the CSSD is interested in.
Hamacek said the ANO and CSSD negotiators reached agreement on most programme issues today. He appreciated ANO’s constructive approach.
Progress has been achieved in the tax policy, on which the two parties’ positions previously differed, Hamacek said.
Brabec said the only still open programme issue is the reform of the system of covering sickness leave for people.
In the tax area, the principle that ANO will not raise taxes remains valid. In the previous election period, ANO proved that it is capable of collecting and managing taxes effectively, Brabec said.