Sunday, 22 October 2017

Zeman to meet Babiš within few days, his spokesman says

ČTK |
19 May 2017

Prague, May 18 (CTK) - Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) asked President Milos Zeman to meet him and this meeting is to be held within a few days, Zeman's spokesman Jiri Ovcacek told CTK on Thursday, adding that Babis wants to be dismissed as minister as of the end of May.

On Wednesday, Babis said he would ask Zeman to accept the agreement between the ANO movement and the Social Democratic Party (CSSD) of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, according to which ANO MP Ivan Pilny would be finance minister instead of him.

Sobotka demanded that Babis leave the cabinet due to his suspected tax evasion and use of media against his political rivals. He proposed Babis's dismissal to Zeman on May 5, but Zeman has been reluctant to do so. Last night, Zeman returned from a one-week trip to China. The 72-year-old president showed signs of fatigue during the official visit.

Sobotka said he may address the Constitutional Court since Zeman refuses to act in line with the constitution. Earlier on Thursday, he urged Zeman to take action.

Ovcacek did not say what steps Zeman would take and when. He said previously that the president would announce this on May 23.

Babis at first refused the leave the cabinet. After a meeting of the leaders of the CSSD, ANO and the third ruling party, the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), Babis said ANO wants the present coalition government to keep ruling the country until the October general election and he proposed his deputy minister Alena Schillerova as his replacement. Sobotka rejected her nomination, arguing she had strong links to Babis and his Agrofert holding. On May 17, the nomination of Pilny was agreed on.

Copyright 2015 by the Czech News Agency (ČTK). All rights reserved.
Copying, dissemination or other publication of this article or parts thereof without the prior written consent of ČTK is expressly forbidden. The Prague Daily Monitor is not responsible for its content.