Sunday, 19 November 2017

ANO may need two coalition partners to govern

ČTK |
19 October 2017

Prague, Oct 18 (CTK) - The ANO movement of Andrej Babis, a clear favourite of the October 20-21 Czech general election, may need two partners to form a majority government, while the creation of an anti-Babis coalition is not very realistic, based on politicians' statements about post-election cooperation.

However, Babis's movement will probably not gain so many votes to prevent such anti-Babis coalition completely.

In view of voter support for particular parties, the most probable scenarios seem to be the continuation of the current centre-left coalition of the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), or a government of ANO and the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) of Tomio Okamura with a direct participation of the Communists (KSCM) or at least their support.

Yet both Babis and KSCM chairman Vojtech Filip rule out their parties' cooperation in a coalition after the general election.

The opposition right-wing Civic Democrats (ODS), TOP 09 and the Mayors and Independents (STAN) also rule out any cooperation with Babis. But STAN will most probably not cross the 5-percent parliamentary threshold, according to opinion polls.

Though the CSSD and the KDU-CSL also rejected any further cooperation with ANO before the summer, their leaders later moderated their statements, saying they could imagine cooperation with ANO without Babis.

Collaboration with Babis would be problematic for Okamura, too, but he did not rule this out completely. "It is a problem for us to be in one government with a prime minister prosecuted over a crime," Okamura told daily Pravo.

Babis faces charges on suspicion of an EU subsidy fraud.

CSSD election leader Lubomir Zaoralek said ANO should react to the situation accordingly if it won the election.

KDU-CSL first deputy chairman Marian Jurecka told public Czech Radio that it would be unacceptable to him to join a government with Babis, but that he was prepared to possibly talk with ANO politicians about their programme priorities.

Pirates chairman Ivan Bartos did not fully refuse to cooperate with ANO after the election either, but he called such an alliance very improbable.

Talks about the government lineup will be very complicated because of Babis's prosecution and his past from the communist era.

Babis is suspected of collaboration with the former communist secret police (StB). The Slovak Constitutional Court recently annulled the verdict of lower-level courts ruling that Babis was wrongly registered as an StB agent and returned the case to the very beginning.

However, despite all of these objections, President Milos Zeman said he was prepared to appoint Babis a new prime minister if his movement won the election.

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