Monday, 21 April 2014

HN: Thousands of people want to enter ANO party

13 November 2013

Prague, Nov 12 (CTK) - The ANO movement of billionaire Andrej Babis, which scored a great success in the late-October general election and may enter a new government, has received some 7000 new applications for membership but it is to vet the applicants thoroughly first, Hospodarske noviny (HN) writes Tuesday.

At present no one has time to process the high number of membership applications since the ANO national committee, comprising its leadership and the regional organisations' heads, is very busy with other things after the elections, HN adds.

However, a meeting of 47 new ANO deputies and a broader leadership will deal with the inflow of new members as well as other issues at the weekend, HN says.

"It will debate the movement's further functioning, the admission of new members as well as the technical aspects of MPs' work - their duties, order of procedure and the Chamber of Deputies 's operation," ANO spokeswoman Radka Burketova said.

Babis and his political aides must now consolidate the party and secure that it survive its election success, HN writes.

"I would like an extraordinary congress to be held in January or February to elect an executive deputy chairperson who would have time and space to look after the movement," ANO first deputy chairwoman Vera Jourova said.

It would be a paid party official and this is why the ANO statutes must be changed, she added.

Jan Sedlacek, head of the ANO organisation in the Moravian-Silesian Region, said the applicants for party membership must be checked thoroughly.

"We must beware of extending too much. The people interested in membership will be first questioned in detail by the local organisations and the national committee will then carry out its own inquiry," Sedlacek said.

Jourova confirmed that the leadership would check some new applicants, HN writes.

On the other hand, ANO is also trying not to disappear from people's mind. This is why the movement has launched a tour of Czech towns to discuss its plans with voters.

On Monday Babis and other ANO leaders started the tour in Brno, the second largest town, and it will continue in the days to come, HN notes.

Babis dismissed the opinion saying it is just "political marketing." He told HN that he felt better among people than in TV debates.

Babis also said if the talks on a new government stagnated, he would complain about it to voters.

ANO, which gained almost 19 percent of the vote in the elections, is negotiating with the winning Social Democrats (CSSD; 20.5 percent), and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL; under 7 percent) about a government coalition. The three parties together command a 111-vote majority in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies.

"We will be telling the people that they should have voted for us, since we are united, we hold the line and do not quarrel," Babis told HN, hinting at the recent infighting in the CSSD.

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