Monday, 20 November 2017

Analyst: Many options open after Czech election

ČTK |
26 October 2017

Prague, Oct 25 (CTK) - The opening talks on the next government conducted by the Czech election winner ANO did not bring any idea on its future form, but options are still open, political analyst Lubomir Kopecek, from Masaryk University, told CTK on Wednesday.

Andrej Babis' ANO won the general election with 29.6 percent, followed by the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) with 11.3 percent and the Pirates with 10.8 percent of the vote.

Another six parties also entered the Chamber of Deputies: SPD of Tomio Okamura with 10.6 percent, the Communists (KSCM) with 7.8 percent, the Social Democrats (CSSD) with 7.3 percent, the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) with 5.8 percent, TOP 09 with 5.3 percent and the Mayors and Independents (STAN) with 5.2 percent.

ANO will have 78 seats in the 200-seat lower house, the ODS 25, the SPD and the Pirates 22 each, the KSCM and the CSSD 15 each, the KDU-CSL ten, TOP 09 seven and STAN six.

Kopecek said a government would eventually be formed, though it could not be said now whether it would be a coalition or minority cabinet.

He said he expected the talks to take a long time.

If a majority government is to be formed, leaders of other parties that can be taken into consideration to form a coalition with ANO would have to drop their statements that they will never form it along with Babis or ANO.

At present the two-member coalition of ANO and the ODS does not seem to be realistic. It would have 103 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, Kopecek said.

The same is true of the three-member coalition of the ANO, CSSD and KDU-CSL or a continuation of the current government, he added.

It cannot be ruled out that the possible partners will leave their current positions, but this will require a certain time, Kopecek said.

A coalition of ANO, the SPD and the Communists is even less realistic, Kopecek said, although it would have 115 seats. Babis has repeatedly dismissed it.

Some observers are of the view that ANO may use this alternative as a threat to other potential partners.

Kopecek said he could imagine another pressure from ANO in the form of an early election because none of the parties wishes this.

Several parties only closely crossed the 5 percent threshold to get into the Chamber of Deputies and others are facing internal problems due to their dismal result.

In addition, ANO, headed by billionaire Babis, is one of the few parties to have enough money for another campaign, Kopecek said.

Given the new composition of the Chamber of Deputies, there are many coalitions or alliances in support of a minority government comprised of three parties.

ANO along with Pirates and the Social Democrats could have 115 seats and ANO along with Pirates and KDU-CSL 110.

However, the game can also be entered by the SPD.

There may also be a coalition of ANO and the Social Democrats, backed by Communists with 108 seats.

Kopecek said the talks would be easier if Babis, charged with an EU subsidy fraud, gave up his bid for the post of prime minister.

"If Babis says he will not be in the government, the situation will be considerably changed," he added.

However, this option seems unlikely, Kopecek said.

President Milos Zeman has already said he will assign Babis to conduct talks on the creation of a new government next Tuesday.

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