Saturday, 16 December 2017

Babiš to negotiate parties' support for his gov't before Christmas

ČTK |
5 December 2017

Prague, Dec 4 (CTK) - Andrej Babis, Czech ANO leader whose new minority cabinet is to be appointed on December 13, wants to hold separate talks with all parties in parliament in the last week before Christmas to discuss their possible support for his cabinet, he told journalists on Monday.

He said he wants to meet parties' leaders one after another according to their parties' result in the October general election, beginning with the election runner-up Civic Democrats (ODS).

Judging by the negative positions the remaining eight parties in the Chamber of Deputies have taken on Babis's government so far, he will not find a majority support for it in the Chamber's vote of confidence.

"This is a question to be addressed to all parties that ran in the election. For the time being, all of them seem to have run with the aim to end in opposition," Babis said when asked about parties' possible support for his cabinet.

He admitted that the government need not survive long without the Chamber's support.

On the other hand, it is a minority cabinet, which implies a big chance to implement various projects, he said.

Earlier on Monday, Babis met the candidates for ministers in his planned 15-seat government to discuss the government's policy statement and the organisation of the cabinet's work.

"We debated issues to be on the agenda as of December 13 when the government will be appointed [by President Milos Zeman] at Prague Castle at 14:00. We discussed our upcoming first cabinet meeting, its agenda and the following inauguration of new ministers in their respective offices," Babis said.

He said he plans to inaugurate some ministers still on December 13.

Afterwards, he will leave for a two-day EU summit in Brussels, he said, calling the European agenda the most important issue for the new cabinet to deal with.

Babis said he also wants to focus on preparing the 2018 state budget in the days to come. He wants the 2018 budget bill to make it through parliament in the shape he personally submitted in the spring in his capacity as finance minister.

Babis plans to visit the Chamber of Deputies' budget committee in this connection, he said.

ANO won the October election far ahead of its rivals, gaining 30 percent of the vote and 78 seats in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies.

The ODS has 25 seats in the Chamber, followed by the Pirates, Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), with 22 seats each, the Communists (KSCM) and the Social Democrats (CSSD) with 15 seats each, the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) with 10, TOP 09 with seven and Mayors and Independents (STAN) with six seats.

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