Monday, 20 November 2017

Pehe: Political crisis may follow after elections

ČTK |
11 September 2017

Prague, Sept 9 (CTK) - A government crisis likely to turn into a constitutional crisis may come after the forthcoming Czech general election if the prosecuted ANO leader Andrej Babis is appointed prime minister-designate, Jiri Pehe writes in daily Pravo on Saturday.

ANO is the hot favourite of the election and the billionaire Babis wants to be the next prime minister. However, the parliament stripped Babis of his MP immunity earlier this week, meeting the police request to release him for prosecution over a suspected subsidy fraud.

President Milos Zeman insists on appointing Babis prime minister-designate if ANO wins the October elections in spite of the criminal prosecution, Pehe writes.

Unless ANO fails to win or Babis changes his mind and proposes some other ANO politician for PM-designate, a political crisis is likely to break out, he says.

A political crisis already occurred at the beginning of Zeman’s presidential mandate in 2013 when he appointed a caretaker cabinet of his favourites and let it rule the country, although the cabinet failed to win the vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies, Pehe recalls.

The Czech constitution does not say how to proceed if the leader of the victorious party is criminally prosecuted. Zeman should think twice before deciding to entrust such a politician with forming the next government, Pehe writes.

He says practically all major parties ruled out that they would join a government led by the prosecuted Babis, but they were ready to negotiate about ruling the country together with ANO without Babis.

If Zeman really names Babis PM-designate, the other parties would very probably join forces to vote against Babis’s government in the parliamentary motion of confidence, Pehe writes.

If Zeman let such a government rule without the parliament’s confidence for a longer period of time, the political crisis would almost certainly turn into a constitution crisis, he adds.

Such a crisis would be bad for the Czech Republic - and it would also be bad for Zeman who is planning to be defending his post in the direct presidential election due in January 2018, Pehe writes.

Such a political crisis triggered by Zeman might sharply decrease his popularity. Zeman already saw his popularity plummet at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 when he was unwilling to act in accordance with the constitution, Pehe writes, hinting at Zeman’s reluctance to appoint Social Democrat (CSSD) leader Bohuslav Sobotka the new prime minister.

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