Sunday, 17 February 2019

ANO waiting for ČSSD congress over its leaders' split views

26 January 2018

Davos, Switzerland/Prague, Jan 25 (CTK special correspondent) - The ANO movement decided to interrupt talks with the Social Democrats (CSSD) until its new leadership is elected as it had a feeling that the current leadership does not have united views, ANO chairman and PM in resignation Andrej Babis told CTK on Thursday.

The CSSD will elect a new leadership at its national congress to be held in Hradec Kralove, east Bohemia, on February 18.

After the congress, ANO intends to intensify negotiations about government cooperation with the Social Democrats, Babis said during the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday.

Babis also criticised the Social Democrats' conditions for their entry into a government with ANO, submitted by CSSD acting head Milan Chovanec.

"If he says ANO cannot head the justice, interior and finance (ministries), what is he actually saying? That he is influencing the police?" Babis said hinting at one of the CSSD's conditions.

Chovanec was interior minister in the previous coalition government of the CSSD, ANO and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) in 2013-17.

The CSSD demands that ANO does not head these three ministries over the investigation into the Capi hnizdo case of a suspected EU subsidy fraud, implicating Babis and ANO first deputy head Jaroslav Faltynek. The Chamber of Deputies released both MPs for prosecution last week.

The CSSD also insists that it will not join a cabinet headed by a prosecuted prime minister.

Babis reacted to Chovanec's statement that the interruption of the talks with the Social Democrats until their congress indicated that the ANO movement cooperated with the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) and Communists (KSCM).

Babis rejected such interpretation. "This is not true," he said.

ANO clearly declared after the last October general election with whom it wanted to cooperate, but the potential partners had rejected this. "They all want to work in opposition," Babis said.

The ANO negotiators had a feeling from the talks with the CSSD that there was no united opinion in the party leadership in view of the upcoming congress. This is why ANO decided to wait for the new CSSD leadership and negotiate with the Social Democrats intensively then, Babis said.

The ODS rejected cooperation with ANO on Wednesday, saying its voters do not wish this, while the KDU-CSL insisted on their condition, saying they cannot join a government with a prosecuted person in it.

"There is no further space for negotiations," Babis said .

This is why, he said, he does not understand the talks with the KSCM and SPD as a wrong signal. "We must talk with all (parties in parliament), this is the best approach," he note.

Babis refused to specify what particular government he would prefer during the second attempt. "We prefer a stable government, either a coalition, a coalition minority or a minority cabinet," he said.

The mainstream parties keep rejecting cooperation with ANO or they make conditions that are unacceptable, such as the KDU-CSL does, he added.

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