Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Babiš calls Topolánek's presidential bid mockery

ČTK |
8 November 2017

Prague, Nov 7 (CTK) - The presidential candidacy of former Civic Democrat (ODS) PM Mirek Topolanek is a mockery since he has been the most corrupt head of government in the Czech Republic's history, Andrej Babis, chairman of the election-winning ANO movement, told reporters on Tuesday.

ANO has not fielded its own presidential candidate.

However, ANO first deputy chairman Jaroslav Faltynek said he personally supported the re-election of current President Milos Zeman who would be defending the post in January.

Babis, the probable next prime minister leading talks on a new government, has not commented on particular presidential candidates yet.

"I have not commented on any candidate yet, but in this case I will utter very strong comments," he told on Tuesday on Topolanek's candidacy.

"I consider him a joint candidate of (TOP 09 chairman Miroslav) Kalousek and the ODS and I think this is a mockery. For me, he (Topolanek) is really the most corrupt prime minister in the history of the country, while Kalousek, for his part, is a symbol of corruption," Babis said.

Kalousek rejected Babis's words.

"I understand the logic of Andrej Babis. Topolanek by preventing his ministers from 'taking (bribes) from Andrej,' provoked a feeling in him that others offered more," he tweeted.

Billionaire businessman Babis, one of the richest citizens of the Czech Republic, owned the giant Agrofert concern, including some media outlets, until February when he transferred it to trust funds to comply with an amended conflict of interest law.

Topolanek, ODS leader in 2002-2010 and prime minister in 2006-09, has won support of the required number of ten senators who signed his candidacy, he said on Monday.

He left politics for the business sector in 2010 and is no longer an ODS member.

On Monday, the ODS called Topolanek a candidate who would be able to face the danger of a pact between Zeman and Babis.

However, ODS MP Vaclav Klaus Junior, son of the party's former chairman, PM and ex-president Vaclav Klaus, told CTK that the party did not regard Topolanek as its candidate.

Babis talked about Topolanek as "a corrupt prime minister" in the media on Monday.

In reaction to it, ODS spokeswoman Jana Havelkova criticised Babis on Twitter.

"It requires a big portion of impudence and shamelessness to be charged with fraud and moralise about corruption," she wrote.

She hinted at the fact that the police seek Babis's prosecution on suspicion of an EU subsidy fraud. They will have to ask the Chamber of Deputies for his release again since he as re-elected an MP in October.

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