Andrej Babis Milos Zeman


Zeman: No Deadline for Babis to form Government

Lany, Central Bohemia, Feb 8 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman will not set any deadline for Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) to form the next government on condition that the ANO movement will negotiate about the next government with other parties, Babis said after meeting Zeman today.


Zeman will not demand the signatures of at least 101 MPs proving that the government has enough support to win a confidence vote in the lower house of parliament, Babis said.


However, the president expects the next government to win the confidence vote, Babis said.


Zeman and Babis had dinner at the Lany presidential chateau near Prague. Their meeting lasted about two hours.


Babis said they agreed to meet regularly once a month. The next meeting will be held on February 18. The billionaire Babis said he invited Zeman for dinner to his villa in Pruhonice.


On February 18, the Social Democrats (CSSD) will be electing their new chairman and decide whether they were ready to join Babis’s government. Babis recently said he prefers a government alliance with the CSSD.


Babis said today he and Zeman would talk about the CSSD election congress at their next meeting.


Zeman, who lead the CSSD in 1993-2001, will address the CSSD congress.


The ANO movement clearly won the general election last October. Babis formed a minority cabinet, but it failed to win support from parliament in January and had to resign. Babis recently started negotiating about his new government. ANO had talks with the right-wing Civic Democrats (ODS), the Communists (KSCM), the CSSD, the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) and Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD). The talks mostly concerned the government’s programme and the lineup of the next cabinet is still unclear.


Babis said he and Zeman talked about foreign policy today. He said the Czech Republic has been firmly anchored in the European Union and NATO. “We really want to play a much more important role than in the past,” he said about the EU and NATO.