Andrej Babis


CSSD Demands Babis Resign If Ministers Leave Posts

Andrej Babiš, ANO, Capi hnizdo, CSSD, EU Subsidy Fraud, Jan Hamacek, Miloš Zeman

Prague, April 25 (CTK) – The Social Democrats (CSSD) want the prime minister and the rest of the cabinet to be obliged to resign if all the five CSSD ministers left their posts, CSSD deputy chairman Jiri Zimola said after negotiations with the ANO leaders about a possible government alliance tonight.


The prime minister should resign within a week after the departure of the Social Democrat ministers, Zimola said.


The resignation of the Czech prime minister implies the fall of the whole cabinet.


The CSSD and the ANO movement have been negotiating about their possible future government backed by the Communists (KSCM) for several weeks. ANO won the autumn elections and has 78 seats in the 200-member lower house of parliament, the CSSD has 15 seats.


The Social Democrats fear that ANO would make decisions irrespective of their positions. In the lower house, ANO joined forces with the KSCM and the right-wing populist Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) in key votes and repeatedly pushed through nominations or issues that the CSSD opposed.


Zimola said the CSSD presented its idea of the government cooperation to ANO before the talks of the leaders of the two parties, Jan Hamacek and Andrej Babis, planned for Thursday or Friday.


The ANO-CSSD meeting lasted about two hours tonight.


Zimola rejected the view that the CSSD is stepping up its demands. He said ANO negotiators did not consider any of the CSSD conditions unacceptable and they took a neutral stance on them.


He said the talks focused on coalition safeguards that would turn the two parties into partners.


Before the talks tonight, ANO deputy chairman Jaroslav Faltynek absolutely rejected the CSSD demand that a politician who is sentenced by a court should leave the government even if the verdict is not final.


Zimola said the Social Democrats insist on this.


Babis has been prosecuted over a suspected EU subsidy fraud.


Babis’s minority cabinet was appointed last December but it failed to win parliament’s support in January and it should rule only temporarily, until the appointment of the next cabinet about whose formation ANO has been negotiating. The CSSD left the negotiating table already once and Babis planned to negotiate about a pact with the KSCM and the SPD, a solution that President Milos Zeman recommended to him, but the ANO braod leadership rejected this option.


Zimola recalled that the CSSD also wants the SPD politicians to be removed from senior parliamentary posts. The lineup of the government coalition should be reflected in the composition of the key lower house bodies, he said.


Babis’s current cabinet has 15 members. ANO offered to the CSSD the interior, labour, agriculture and culture ministries and either the foreign or the defence ministry.


Faltynek said the CSSD preferred to be in charge of the Foreign Ministry.


ANO deputy chairman Richard Brabec said his party would like to apply the coalition agreement of the government of the CSSD, ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) that ruled in 2014-17.


“It is pointless to create different forumlations when they were already created,” Brabec said.


In the previous government, the CSSD head eight ministers, ANO had six and the KDU-CSL three.