Wednesday, 24 January 2018

ODS, KDU-ČSL not to support ANO minority government

ČTK |
20 December 2017

Prague, Dec 19 (CTK) - The opposition Civic Democrats (ODS) will not support Andrej Babis's minority government, because he should have tried to form a majority coalition first, and they also challenge the government policy statement, ODS chairman Petr Fiala told reporters after his meeting with Babis on Tuesday.

The Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) refuse to even consider supporting the ANO cabinet if Babis is in it, he said after their meeting later on Tuesday.

The KDU-CSL would not support the cabinet if anyone who is indicted or prosecuted were in it, its representatives told reporters after their meeting with Babis.

Babis and ANO deputy chairman Jaroslav Faltynek were charged over an EU subsidy fraud and the Chamber of Deputies released them for prosecution in September. The prosecution was interrupted, however, as a result of both men having regained their MP immunity after the October general election. The police submitted a request for their release again and deputies are to vote on it soon.

The ODS wants a steeper lowering of taxes than the government ANO movement proposes and criticises the continuation of the electronic registration of sales (EET), Fiala said.

PM and ANO chairman Babis said he was not expecting to win confidence in his cabinet in the first round of talks with the parties in parliament before Christmas. He said he was going to continue the talks after the New Year.

"We are convinced that a minority cabinet should be the very last attempt after negotiations about a majority cabinet have failed. The ANO movement has not done anything like that. We are also convinced that we did not receive the mandate from our voters to support a one-colour cabinet of the ANO movement," Fiala said.

He maintains that the ANO cabinet policy statement contains proposals that are acceptable to ODS, but that other ones are not acceptable.

The ODS and ANO representatives did not discuss the details yesterday, however, as a result of the ODS's intent not to support the cabinet.

Fiala said he did not know whether the ODS would meet Babis for the second time.

"We debated support for the government programme and we voiced our standpoint on it. I now expect the ANO movement to seek support elsewhere," Fiala said.

He refused to comment on how the situation might change if Babis did not attain support of the Chamber of Deputies for his cabinet by January 10.

As regards the meeting of Babis with the KDU-CSL, the cabinet's programme was not debated much, Babis said.

"I think we differ in everything. The KDU-CSL keeps the same stance. Their idea is mainly that Babis should not be in the cabinet," he said.

Babis was also dissatisfied with the atmosphere of the meeting, which was worse than that of the previous meeting with the ODS. It was characterised by a matter-of-fact debate, even though the ODS reiterated it would not support ANO's minority cabinet, Babis said.

KDU-CSL chairman Pavel Belobradek said the cabinet's policy statement was unrealistic and that funding was not available for its objectives.

KDU-CSL also criticised the fact that ANO composed a minority cabinet without making effort to form a majority one.

According to Belobradek, ANO wants to be in a position to label any successes the result of the cabinet's work and any failures the result of the Chamber of Deputies' majority refusal to cooperate with ANO.

ANO is to meet TOP 09, the Pirates and the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) representatives to discuss support for its cabinet on Thursday.

TOP 09 chairman Jiri Pospisil said his party would definitely not support it. However, if ANO presents specific bills in line with TOP 09's programme, its deputies could vote for them.

The Pirates reiterated Tuesday their stance that they would not support the ANO cabinet and only want to discuss specific programme objectives they agree with.

Babis wants to negotiate about the support for his cabinet with all parties in parliament before Christmas. He said yesterday that he did not want to offer any cabinet seats to the Communists (KSCM) and the SDP.

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