Saturday, 18 November 2017

Babiš wants to have new government before Christmas

ČTK |
26 October 2017

Prague, Oct 25 (CTK) - Andrej Babis, leader of the ANO movement that clearly won the Czech general election four days ago, would like to form a new government that would win support from the Chamber of Deputies by Christmas, he told Czech Television (CT) last night.

This week, ANO had talks with all the other eight parties that entered the new Chamber.

Babis said the second round of negotiations will begin on Thursday when ANO is to meet the leaders of Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) of Tomio Okamura again. Talks with other parties are to be led next week.

Babis said ANO is not going to meet representatives of the conservative TOP 09 and the centrist Mayors and Independents (STAN) anymore.

"There is nothing to talk about. They have the virtually minimum number of MPs. They are hostile to us," he said.

ANO has 78 MPs in the new 200-seat lower house of parliament, while TOP 09 has seven and the STAN six MPs.

The right-wing Civic Democrats (ODS) won 25 MPs, the Pirates and the SPD 22 MPs each, the Communists (KSCM) and the Social Democrats (CSSD) 15 MPs each and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) 10 MPs.

The first negotiating round did not produce even a general idea of the lineup of the possible next government and parties mainly talked about the posts in the lower house leadership and committees.

"They all say they don't want to join the government. I can understand that they want to be in opposition. We say: Let's agree on the Chamber, we'll try and see what stance they will take," Babis said.

The other parties declared that they would not take part in a government led by a criminally prosecuted politician. The tycoon Babis who insists on becoming the next prime minister was accused of a EU subsidy fraud, but his prosecution was interrupted because he regained the MP's immunity. The police would have to ask the MPs to strip Babis of immunity again.

Babis said it should be clear by the end of November whether the next Czech cabinet would be a coalition government or a minority government of ANO.

ANO said it would not rule the country with the SPD or the KSCM. It offered government cooperation to the ODS, but the offer was rejected. ANO also said the continuation of its present government coalition with the CSSD and the KDU-CSL was an option, but the two parties rejected this.

President Milos Zeman said he would entrust Babis will negotiating about the formation of the government on Tuesday. Zeman also plans to meet the representatives of all the parties in parliament in the next two weeks.

The constituent session of the new Chamber of Deputies will be held on November 20. After this session ends, the outgoing centre-left government of Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD) will hand in its resignation.

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