Thursday, 25 May 2017

Analysts: Prime Minister Sobotka going for broke

ČTK |
3 May 2017

Prague, May 2 (CTK) - The decision of Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) to tender resignation of the whole government over the dubious business deals of Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) is a very risky step, political analysts said on Tuesday.

Analyst Kamil Svec told CTK that Sobotka had shown he was determined to fight with Babis and ANO.

Political scientist Ladislav Mrklas said Sobotka was trying to have the upper hand and to strongly influence the political developments before the autumn election to the Chamber of Deputies.

"I think that Sobotka has taken a courageous step because both his and Social Democrats' future is now at stake," Svec, from the Faculty of Social Sciences of Charles University, said.

"He has shown that he is quite determined to put up a fight against Babis and his movement," he added.

"He is going for broke. He may either lose everything or gain some support," Svec said.

"Sobotka is obviously trying to influence what is going on. So far, he was rather on the defensive and now he is trying to have a larger manoeuvring space in the developments that are to follow until the election," Mrklas, from the Cevro institute, said.

They agreed that thanks to Sobotka's determination, the Social Democrats can gain some votes before the October election.

"This is a situation in which one can still gain something if there is a good explanation and well-thought steps are taken," Mrklas said.

Sobotka's step can be understood as a pragmatic decision, he added.

"I think that it is obvious that whatever the government does, Babis' preferences rise, while those of the Social Democrats tend to fall," Mrklas said.

According to the latest polls, ANO would win the election with a large margin before the Social Democrats.

Sobotka has also sent a signal to his own party, he added.

"This is a pressure on his fellow party members who should put an end to their internal squabbling as it harms the party," Mrklas said.

By the resignation of the whole government, Sobotka has also opened space for President Milos Zeman, Svec said.

Zeman could use the situation to firm his position before the presidential elections due next year.

He may enter the situation by empowering someone to form a caretaker government to rule until the election, Svec said.

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