President Zeman Says Bah Humbug to Early Elections

Lany, Central Bohemia, Dec 26 (CTK) – President Zeman rejected the idea that he might call an early election as one of the solutions to the situation after the October general election in his Christmas message today.


Zeman said the draft government manifesto of Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) was a good basis for a discussion of a programme and personnel compromises between parties.


The parties should not bide their time. Instead, they should actively negotiate about the post-election arrangement, Zeman said.


Babis, leader of the election-winning ANO, is trying to muster support for his minority government, but except for Communists, the rest of the parties have denied support to it.


Most of them argue that they cannot back a government headed by Babis as he might face a criminal prosecution over an EU subsidy fraud.


Zeman said if Babis’s first try at forming a government failed, the second try could take place in February.


Zeman said the minority government might find enough members of the Chamber of Deputies who would tolerate it.


Zeman appointed Babis to the post of prime minister although Babis has not ensured majority in the Chamber of Deputies for his government.


Zeman said he had done so because the outgoing government of Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) should not be ruling for weeks or even months more.


“I do not think anyone wishes this,” Zeman said.


He said in a few months, the Czech Republic would have a government with confidence.


“If there is no success in the first round, I will create time and space for thorough talks of political partners so that a second try happened sometimes in February, which might be successful,” he added.


Zeman said he would not call the early election because this would sneer at voters who decided in the election and who, unlike politicians, could not be exchanged.


In January, Zeman will seek re-election in the presidential election.


In his traditional speech, broadcast on television, Zeman called on people to be self-confident and to rely on their own senses.


“I believe that common sense will defeat envious stupidity,” Zeman said.