Saturday, 12 January 2019

ODS leader rules out cooperation with ANO

7 February 2018

Prague, Feb 6 (CTK) - Petr Fiala, leader of the Czech Civic Democratic Party (ODS), ruled out a government cooperation with Prime Minister Andrej Babis's ANO on Tuesday.

Fiala also criticised the prime minister in resignation for his suggesting an early election.

Fiala said ANO had not tried all options for talks.

"I cannot imagine this," Fiala told journalists, answering a question about ODS joining a government headed by Babis.

The ODS rejects the idea, arguing that it cannot enter a government with a prime minister who is criminally prosecuted. The Chamber of Deputies has twice released Babis for the prosecution as he may be implicated in an EU subsidy fraud.

Fiala said the ODS was ready to play the role of an opposition leader and to watch were rules wee observed in the Chamber of Deputies.

"By saying [that an early election is an option], Babis is sending the following message to all: 'Either I will have the upper hand, everyone will pretend that I gained 100 percent and everyone recognises me as the head of the family, bowing your heads before me, or I will push the nation to an early election," Fiala said.

"These are not the words that should be uttered by a responsible politician," Fiala said.

"The statements by Babis look like a sort of pressure, like blackmail, while no real talks on a majority government have actually started," Fiala said.

There are a number of options of forming a majority government, but Babis has not come up with any plan with which to achieve it, he added.

Fiala also criticised the talks between ANO and Communists (KSCM) about the latter's support for the government.

"Soon we will commemorate the 70th anniversary of February 1948 [the Communist coup]. I hope that Babis does not want to celebrate the sad anniversary, the national disaster, by bringing Communists to the support for the government or pushing them closer to the government. The symbol would be really shameful," Fiala said.

Fiala warned that a government with a Communist backing would not make it possible to insist on the Czech Republic's foreign interests.

The Civic Democrats are changing their mind and no longer rule out their joining the next cabinet of the election-winning ANO of Andrej Babis, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) wrote on Tuesday, citing ODS deputy chairwoman Alexandra Udzenija.

For the ODS to start negotiations with ANO on a joint government, which would have a majority of 103 votes in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies, Babis would have to completely change his approach, Udzenija said.

If ANO showed genuine interest in cooperation, the ODS is open to negotiations, with programme as its most important criterion, Udzenija said.

The ODS and ANO are the only parties that could form a two-member majority government.

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