Prague, (CTK) – The opposition deputies have criticised Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) for saying that criminal prosecution can be ordered in the Czech Republic at the Chamber of Deputies session dealing with his release for prosecution today.
If this was the case, the prime minister should sack Justice Minister Robert Pelikan (ANO) who has kept this post since 2015, the MPs said.
Babis’s ANO has controlled the Justice Ministry since 2014 when Pelikan’s predecessor Helena Valkova (ANO) became minister in the previous coalition government of the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL).
The Chamber of Deputies is to vote on the police request for the release of Babis and ANO first deputy head Jaroslav Faltynek in the suspected fraud case of a 50-million-crown EU subsidy for the Capi hnizdo farm, now owned by the Agrofert concern which Babis had to transfer to trust funds one year ago over a new conflict of interest law.
“According to prime minister Babis, prosecution can be launched to order in our country. In a normal government, the justice minister would raise objections to such words or tender a resignation,” the Civic Democrats (ODS) said in their official statement.
“If the PM’s opinion is right, Justice Minister Pelikan should resign immediately,” Social Democrat (CSSD) acting chairman Milan Chovanec, Pelikan’s former colleague from the coalition cabinet, tweeted.
Everyone knows that criminal prosecution can be ordered in the Czech Republic, Babis said in his speech in the Chamber today.
“If the PM does not believe in the independence of courts and the police after his four-year work in the government (as deputy PM and finance minister) and after his ANO movement headed the Justice Ministry, he should dismiss Minister Pelikan,” TOP 09 deputy chairwoman Marketa Pekarova Adamova said.
“Do we have to witness vulgarity and statements about the possibility to order criminal prosecution in our country before the Faltynek-Babis duo let themselves be released?” Mayors and Independents (STAN) deputy chairman Vit Rakusan said.
KDU-CSL deputy group’s head Jan Bartosek said at the lower house plenary session that Babis’s words had shocked him.
“You were a member of the National Security Council in the past four years. It you had this awareness, what did you do about it? What particular steps did you take? When did you solve this issue in particular?” Bartosek asked Babis who did not react to his question.