Andrej Babis Milos Zeman


Zeman To Name Babis PM Prior To CSSD Referendum

Andrej Babiš, Miloš Zeman

Prague, May 28 (CTK) – President Milos Zeman will name Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) as the prime minister for the second time even before the end of the Social Democrat (CSSD) referendum on whether to join the government along with ANO, Zeman told Czech Television (CT) today.


Babis will have roughly two weeks to present a proposal to fill the ministerial posts even before the Social Democrat referendum ends.


Zeman said in this way, he wanted to speed up the creation of the government.


The Social Democrat referendum ends on June 14 and its result will be known one day later.


“First, I want to create the situation in which it will be clear that it is just Babis as the winner of the election who has not only the right, but also the duty to negotiate on the forming of the government. Second, the process should be accelerated,” Zeman said.


Zeman said these steps were a pressure on both the CSSD and Babis.


He said he did not yet know the exact time of the appointment.


The Social Democrats are deciding in their referendum on whether they should enter a minority government along with ANO that is to be backed by the Communists in order to gain a majority in the Chamber of Deputies.


Zeman already said last week that he would name Babis irrespective of the outcome of the referendum.


CSSD leader Jan Hamacek said he understood Zeman’s statement as a confirmation of his previous stance.


“I do not think this is a pressure on the Social Democrats,” Hamacek has told CT.


“If I am named by mid-June, I can submit the government proposal by the end of June,” Babis told CT.


Zeman said he might come and support Babis to the Chamber of Deputies before the confidence vote was held in the lower house.


He also did so in the first case, when Babis asked the Chamber of Deputies for confidence in January, but Babis lost the vote.


Zeman is scheduled to meet Babis this Thursday.


Zeman said he presumed the CSSD would support its presence in the government in the referendum.


He said he was also prepared for a negative position of the Social Democrats.


“I have prepared a plan B, but I will first disclose it to Babis,” Zeman said.


He said he did not mean any early election, which he had rejected several times.


Zeman said he supported either a coalition of the CSSD and ANO with the Communist backing, or a cooperation of ANO, the Communists and the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD).


The opposition has rejected Zeman’s steps.


“If there was common to first wait for and muster the 101 [votes in the Chamber of Deputies] before someone is entrusted to form a government, now we are one step further in the tolerance of Babis doing whatever he wants,” the Pirates leader, Ivan Bartos, said.


Petr Fiala, the leader of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), said Zeman’s conduct was one of the sources of the long-standing crisis.