Prague, April 24 (CTK) – The Czech Social Democrats (CSSD) want Andrej Babis’s ANO to break up with the far-right SPD movement as a condition for their forming a coalition government with ANO and a step to prevent ANO from forming a parallel unofficial coalition with the SPD, Josef Koukal writes in Pravo today.
He comments on the ongoing government negotiations between the CSSD and ANO, the winner of the October 2017 general election.
The CSSD wants ANO to show loyalty to it by discontinuing its alliance with Tomio Okamura’s far-right SPD (Freedom and Direct Democracy). The CSSD wants ANO to join its effort and jointly dismiss SPD representatives from high parliamentary posts, to which Babis had them recently installed in order to secure their loyalty, Koukal writes.
The most “palpable” of these dismissals should be that of Okamura as Chamber of Deputies deputy chairman, Koukal writes.
True, such a blow to mutual relations, which ANO and the SPD have been cherishing since the October elections, would considerably impair the alliance of ANO and the SPD. It would hit Okamura’s ego and would also impair ANO’s hitherto harmonic relations with President Milos Zeman, since Okamura is Zeman’s protege to a large extent, Koukal writes.
The CSSD-ANO negotiations about ANO’s breakup with the SPD may be even more sensitive than their [recent] squabble over the seat of the interior minister. Until now, Babis has planned to control two parallel coalitions, Koukal writes.
One of them, an ANO-CSSD minority coalition, would be ostentatiously presented as Babis’s official government project for the public and mainly the EU to see. The other, majority and unofficial coalition would be comprised of ANO, the SPD and the Communists and would be ready for joint voting in parliament, Koukal writes.
Babis would be posing at photo sessions with the former coalition and governing with the latter, Koukal writes.
The funniest aspect of Babis’s plan is that once an ANO-CSSD minority cabinet, tolerated by the KSCM, gained the Chamber of Deputies’ confidence, the ANO-KSCM-SPD majority could eventually prevent the Chamber from voting no confidence in the same cabinet, if sought by the CSSD, Koukal writes.
No wonder that the CSSD demands guarantees to prevent so devilish a plan beforehand, he writes.
Only ANO’s radical blow hitting the SPD can secure a rift between them. This is what the CSSD demands. “Chase Okamura’s people [from lower house posts], only then we may start trusting you” – this is the CSSD’s message to ANO, Koukal writes.
ANO deputy chairman Richard Brabec is right when he says that such a step would impair the balance of forces in the Chamber of Deputies. However, this is what the CSSD is striving for. It does not want to play a fig leaf or a clown or useful idiot by covering up the hitherto functioning voting machinery of ANO, the SPD and the KSCM. It seeks a guarantee for none of the above roles being forced upon it, Koukal adds.
Elsewhere in Pravo, commentator Lukas Jelinek says the CSSD probably wants the SPD’s potentially vacated seats of a lower house deputy chairman, and the heads of the economy and security committees and of two commissions for itself, although they should logically be occupied by the opposition.
If the CSSD argued that the SPD radicals attack fundamental democratic values and have no place in top posts, it would probably be asked why it did not apply the same criterion to the Communists in the past, when it was the strongest party in parliament, Jelinek writes.
Some might also reproach CSSD chairman and Chamber of Deputies deputy head Jan Hamacek for having sat next to Okamura in the Chamber for five months now without complaining about him until recently, Jelinek says.
Another problem is the prosecution that Babis, ANO’s candidate for prime minister, faces over a suspected subsidy fraud, Jelinek writes, adding that the whole CSSD coalition manoeuvre might finally backfire on the party in the next elections. The CSSD rank-and-file, who are to vote on the nascent government in an internal referendum, should carefully consider whether the dubious and risky alliance with Babis is really worth striking, Jelinek concludes.