Friday, 24 November 2017

Pehe: Babiš's gov't does not need confidence vote in Chamber

ČTK |
14 November 2017

Prague, Nov 13 (CTK) - A government may rule the Czech Republic and achieve a lot even if it fails to win a confidence vote held in the Chamber of Deputies, Jiri Pehe says in daily Pravo on Monday, adding that President Milos Zeman seems ready to let ANO leader Andrej Babis be prime minister for rather long in such a case.

One of the scenarios of the Czech post-election developments are three unsuccessful attempts to form a government that would win the parliament's support, and most observers believe that a government with the Chamber's support will finally arise, Pehe writes.

However, few people ask the question whether Babis really wants to win the Chamber's support for his possible minority government in the present political constellation, he says.

Even without winning the motion of confidence, a government may make radical personnel changes in the judiciary. On the justice minister's proposal, the government may dismiss the country's top state attorney and appoint a new one. In cooperation with the newly appointed state attorney, state attorneys on lower levels can be replaced, Pehe writes.

The "reformed" prosecution may be more open to halt the criminal prosecution of Babis who has been accused of a suspected fraud of EU subsidies or to launch cases in which Babis's political opponents would be charged, Pehe says.

Although Babis claims he is not interested in such a plan, his ANO movement may easily persuade the Communists (KSCM) and the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) movement of Tomio Okamura to join forces in order to get the councils supervising the public Czech Television (CT) and Czech Radio (CRo) under their control, even if the KSCM and the SPD otherwise would not support the ANO minority cabinet, Pehe writes.

He says Okamura has openly called for a law that would turn the public media into state-controlled media.

ANO's government without support from parliament may also try to gain control over the bodies supervising the CEZ state-controlled power utility and some other big state-run companies. By getting the giant CEZ under his control, the billionaire Babis would enormously increase his own influence. He might influence with which firms and countries the Czech Republic would cooperate in the possible further development of its nuclear power plants, Pehe writes.

Last spring, Babis had to transfer his huge Agrofert chemical, agricultural and food-processing concern to trust funds because of a new law on conflict of interest.

By ruling the country without winning the confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies, Babis has little to lose. His influence would further grow and his efficient marketing experts would definitively present the other parties as irresponsible because of their unwillingness to take part in Babis's government, Pehe writes.

If early elections were held, Babis would again have enough money for a huge campaign and the media his Agrofert owns to fight for him, but maybe also the judiciary apparatus, Pehe writes.

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