Monday, 26 June 2017

PM rejects Schillerová as FinMin, wants another candidate

ČTK |
16 May 2017

Prague, May 15 (CTK) - Czech Deputy Finance Minister Alena Schillerova does not have the necessary preconditions for becoming finance minister, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said on Monday and asked ANO to propose another candidate to replace Andrej Babis (ANO) if he is fired.

Sobotka said he would not even agree with the nomination of Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) for the post.

In the past, Brabec was chief of Lovochemie, a chemical plant in Lovosice, north Bohemia, that falls under Agrofert holding.

Babis owned the Agrofert holding, which also includes the Mafra publishing house issuing the national dailies Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) and Lidove noviny (LN), until February, when he transferred it to trustee funds to comply with an amended conflict of interest law.

In a press release issued after this morning's meeting of the government coalition council, Sobotka wrote that Schillerova together with Martin Janecek, director of the Financial Administration, is responsible for the ministry's slow and reluctant attitude to controls of the firms that issued untaxed one-crown bonds, including Agrofert.

This means that she would continue in Babis's steps, Sobotka wrote.

Schillerova said she was shocked by the arguments Sobotka used against her.

The rightist opposition comprehends Sobotka's reasons. TOP 09 said, however, no one nominated by ANO can bring a change to the ministry.

The Civic Democrats (ODS) said the government crisis will not be resolved and that an early general election should be held.

Sobotka has proposed Babis's dismissal over his dubious financial transactions and influencing of the media which he owned.

"The (Finance) Ministry only started to act after the budget committee, the government and the Chamber of Deputies urged it many times to do something," Sobotka said.

He wrote that Schillerova does not guarantee a clear and unbiased investigation of the bonds adding that she is dependent on ANO and Babis.

Sobotka also blamed Schillerova for pushing through and defending the current strongly repressive approach to the administration and collection of taxes.

He wrote that there is a growing suspicion that it harms and liquidates honest firms.

"That is why I rejected the nomination of Ms Alena Schillerova on Monday and asked the ANO movement to submit another proposal," Sobotka wrote.

"I respect the ANO movement's right to propose a new candidate after the dismissal of minister Babis. However, being the prime minister, I cannot give up factual as well as constitutional responsibility for the new minister guaranteeing a proper, competent and independent exercise of the ministerial post," Sobotka wrote.

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