Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Babiš, ODS head Fiala to discuss gov't cooperation possibility

13 March 2018

Prague, March 12 (CTK) - Czech ANO leader Andrej Babis will meet Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman Petr Fiala on Thursday to hear the ODS's official stance on possible government cooperation of ANO and the ODS, he told CTK after a meeting of the ANO leadership on Monday.

Babis said voices from the ODS have been disunited on the issue so far, which is why he wants to meet Fiala tete-a-tete.

Babis, whose ANO comfortably won the October general election, heads a single-party minority cabinet which, however, lost a confidence vote in parliament in January and continues ruling until a new government is established.

President Milos Zeman has given the second government-forming attempt to Babis again. Babis previously said he wants his second cabinet to be beforehand sure of winning confidence.

On Thursday morning, Babis will also have separate negotiations with the far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) and the Communists (KSCM), with whom he shares a number of programme goals. The two parties previously did not rule out their support for Babis's minority government.

Afterwards, he will meet the Social Democratic Party's (CSSD) negotiators with whom he expects to discuss personnel issues related to the new government.

In the CSSD, the final decision on whether to join Babis's cabinet is to be made in an internal referendum in the weeks to come.

On Sunday, Babis said he is considering proposing cooperation to the ODS, the arch-rival of the CSSD. This annoyed CSSD chairman Jan Hamacek, who threatened to discontinue the talks with ANO.

Fiala, on his part, said he understood Babis's statement as nothing but pressure Babis is exerting on other potential coalition partners with the aim to cover up his real partners - the KSCM and the far-right SPD.

ANO, with 78 seats in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies, would have a majority of 103 votes together with the ODS, which however, previously repeatedly said it would not enter a government with a prosecuted prime minister.

Babis faces prosecution for a suspected EU subsidy fraud.

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