Wednesday, 22 November 2017

LN: MPs are to blame for post-election deadlock

ČTK |
6 November 2017

Prague, Nov 4 (CTK) - The new lower house of Czech parliament that emerged from the October general election is blocked as three groups that do not talk together formed in the house, but the constitution is forcing them to reach some compromise, Petr Kambersky writes in daily Lidove noviny (LN) on Saturday.

He says the first group is the victorious ANO movement of Andrej Babis that has 78 MPs in the 200-seat house.

The second group has 85 MPs and includes the traditional democratic parties - the Civic Democrats (CSSD), the Social Democrats (CSSD), the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), TOP 09 and Mayors and Independents (STAN) - plus the Pirates, Kambersky writes, calling it the group of ODS chairman Petr Fiala.

The third group has 37 MPs and comprises of two extremist parties - the far-left Communists (KSCM) and the far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) movement of Tomio Okamura.

Although this description is rather simplified, it can explain the political situation in the country, Kambersky writes.

He says the Babis group won but the Fiala group does not want to cooperate with it. The Okamura group seems ready to cooperate with the Babis group, but the Babis group refuses this cooperation. The Fiala group does not want to cooperate with the Okamura group either, Kambersky writes.

But the country needs a solution to be found. It is necessary to form either a majority government or a minority government that would be tolerated by a majority in the lower house, he says.

This does not mean that Babis has to be prime minister. The prime minister might also be Richard Brabec (ANO), Fiala or Jiri Pospisil (TOP 09). The Fiala group may choose the prime minister if it wins support from a part of the Babis or Okamura group, Kambersky says.

If the MPs are unable to find an agreement, which is what the constitution requires, the lower house should dissolve itself. President Milos Zeman plays no major role in either of these two scenarios, Kambersky writes.

He says it is unfair to blame Zeman for threatening not to dissolve the lower house and let Babis's government rule the country without the required support from the house for four years.

The idea of a government ruling the Czech Republic for four years without confidence from parliament is unacceptable, but such a scenario is very unlikely, Kambersky writes.

According to the constitution, Zeman is not obliged to dissolve parliament if three new governments in a row fail to win the parliament's trust, he says.

This situation really seems wild, but Zeman is not to blame for it, he adds.

The ones to blame are the authors of the constitution, the authors of the amendment to the constitution who added the direct presidential election but did not change the role and powers of the president, and, finally and first of all, the MPs who are unable or unwilling to make a deal on any government that would win a majority support from them, Kambersky writes.

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