Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Pirates for opposition to head all lower house committees

ČTK |
13 November 2017

Prague, Nov 12 (CTK) - The Czech Pirates confirmed on Sunday that they will back Radek Vondracek (ANO) as a candidate for Chamber of Deputies head and proposed that all lower house committees be led by opposition MPs now that ANO is going to form a one-colour minority government, they told CTK in a press release.

The opposition parties should fill the posts of Chamber of Deputies committees' chairpersons in a proportion based on their respective results in the October 20-21 general election, the Pirates said in a resolution.

This would enable the opposition to control ministries.

The only exception would be the organisational committee, whose chairmanship obligatorily goes to the Chamber of Deputies' chairperson, the Pirates said.

In reaction to them, ANO leader Andrej Babis told CTK that the Pirates invent nonsense instead of contributing to the operation of a new cabinet.

Despite its smooth election victory, ANO has offered committees' leadership to other parties in parliament "far more openly" compared with the situation following the general elections in previous years, Babis said.

He said the Pirates have been doing nothing but politicking. "They have been constantly proposing things and telling things in media, but all talk, no action," Babis said, adding that ANO negotiators will meet the Pirates next week to highlight the law on the Chamber of Deputies' order of procedure to them.

ANO comfortably won the elections, gaining 78 seats in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies and leaving eight rival parties far behind with 25 seats (the Civic Democrats, ODS), 22 seats (Pirates and the far-right SPD movement each), 15 seats (the Communists, KSCM, and the Social Democrats, CSSD each), 10 seats (the Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL), seven seats (TOP 09) and six seats (the STAN movement).

A few days ago, President Milos Zeman asked Babis to start government-forming negotiations and said he would appoint Babis PM-designate as soon as the new Chamber of Deputies is constituted and the outgoing cabinet steps down. Babis has indicated he might form a minority cabinet comprised of ANO members and unaffiliated experts.

"In the current constellation, Andrej Babis's [ANO] movement will fill all posts of ministers. For the Chamber of Deputies' controlling mechanisms to be preserved, it would be undesirable if a party controlled itself. We have to submit the issue for a discussion," Pirates chairman Ivan Bartos said.

According to the Pirates, the lower house leadership's lineup should reflect the election outcome. That is why they will back Vondracek as ANO's candidate for the house's chairman, while the ODS's Petr Fiala, who also seeks the chairmanship, should become a deputy chairman, they said.

Earlier this week, the Pirates pondered on whether to support Vondracek for the top lower house post.

In their resolution on Sunday, the Pirates confirmed that they keep to their post-election strategy, would not support a minority government of ANO and will work as constructive opposition.

Bartos said the Pirates, who are newcomers in parliament, want to promote their programme and want to be a watchdog.

"The opposition must logically demand all available controlling chances in the current situation where the nascent government may [be ruling even] without the confidence [of lawmakers]," Bartos said.

Negotiations on the division of posts of lower house committees' chairperson have been underway.

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