Andrej Babis Milan Stech


Milan Stech Calls On Social Democrats To Withdraw From Coalition

Andrej Babiš, Jan Hamacek, Miloš Zeman, Miroslav Poche

Prague, June 18 (CTK) – A party should withdraw from an agreement if its partner violates it before it takes effect, Senate chairman Milan Stech (Czech Social Democrats, CSSD) told reporters today, in reaction to PM Andrej Babis (ANO) rejecting CSSD MEP Miroslav Poche’s nomination for foreign minister.


Babis called on Poche to give up the candidacy as both President Milos Zeman and the Communists (KSCM), who should tolerate the ANO-CSSD minority government in a confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies, opposed him as diplomacy head. The Social Democrats, who approved their entry into the joint cabinet with ANO in their intra-party referendum, insist on Poche.


Other CSSD representatives have also criticised Babis’s approach to Poche’s nomination.


Primarily Babis should solve the situation around Poche, Prague CSSD organisation chairman Petr Pavlik told CTK.


He said the ANO-CSSD agreement included the programme and personnel issues and Babis should push it through as such. If not, the CSSD has no reason for joining his government, he added.


Babis is behaving in as unpredictable way, thinking of his own interests only and he does not respect partnership, Stech said.


“The situation is very bad, it does not prove that Andrej Babis is capable of leading the country confidently in the long run, and this is just an advance signal of further problems that will emerge,” Stech said.


“If an agreement is violated before it takes effect, it should be terminated. This is just the beginning, it will turn worse,” he added.


“If cooperation is to continue like that, no government has to be formed,” former CSSD deputy chairman and ex-foreign minister Lubomir Zaoralek said.


Senator Jiri Dienstbier (CSSD) said this confirms the words of the opponents of a coalition with ANO.


“Babis is untrustworthy and he does not respect any agreements,” Dienstbier wrote to CTK. He called the withdrawal from the coalition with ANO the only reasonable solution.


CSSD senator group head Petr Vicha, who along with other CSSD senators stood up against government cooperation with ANO, criticised mainly the fact that the Communists demanded that the CSSD scrap Poche’s candidacy.


However, Dienstbier also criticised the CSSD’s nomination of Poche for foreign affairs minister.


“Poche should never have been proposed since this is a person without any moral principles who belongs to the Prague corruption structures. However, quite nonsensically, Zeman, Babis and the Communists reject him over his humane stance on refugees,” Dienstbier said.


“I have neither proposed nor supported Poche, but the CSSD has decided so and I respect this,” Stech said on Poche’s nomination.


If a government were to be formed according to the president’s wishes, it would not be a government with the participation of the CSSD, but with Zeman’s share, he added.


“Let them create such a government. I know that their favourites are the (anti-EU ultra-right) Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) and the Communists. I think that was a fully clear message to the public,” Stech said.


CSSD deputy chairman Roman Onderka said the CSSD referendum has not voted on particular candidates for ministers, but despite that, CSSD chairman Jan Hamacek and the whole leadership should insist on Poche’s nomination. He added that he minded the KSCM screening the candidates for ministers.


CSSD first deputy chairman Jiri Zimola refused to comment on the case in detail. He said he would like to wait for the result of the planned meeting between Poche and Zeman.