Friday, 21 September 2018

ČSSD wants ANO's guarantees of not outvoting it in joint cabinet

ČTK |
1 March 2018

Prague, Feb 28 (CTK) - The Czech Social Democrats (CSSD) will want guarantees in writing from the ANO movement that it will not outvote them as a senior coalition partner in a joint cabinet they might form together, CSSD deputy head Jiri Zimola said after a meeting of CSSD and ANO negotiators on Wednesday.

The CSSD wants to complete the government-forming talks with ANO by the end of March, Zimola told journalists.

"Our ambition is to complete the talks by the end of March, if possible. I have the feeling that we moved a bit forward today," Zimola said.

At the meeting on Wednesday, the CSSD and ANO representatives discussed specific programme goals, not only general priorities, Zimola said.

According to CSSD chairman Jan Hamacek, the goals discussed include the fight against usury and distraints and the development of poor localities in northwestern Bohemia and north Moravia.

The two parties are in discord on issues such as the special taxation of selected largest companies and an increase in patients' financial co-participation in health services.

Next week, the two parties' expert teams will discuss the individual programme issues and in the week to follow the next, the leading negotiators will meet again on March 15.

Zimola said the negotiations should also focus on safeguards of a joint governance.

"We asked the ANO leadership to be prepared for our demand that a simple majority must not [be enough to] push through decisions [in a possible ANO-CSSD cabinet]," Zimola said, adding that the CSSD will seek ANO's relevant guarantee in writing.

If the CSSD agreed on forming a government with ANO, the step would have to be confirmed by a CSSD internal referendum. The CSSD deputies' group would respect the referendum's result in parliament's vote of confidence in the cabinet, Hamacek said.

The CSSD has 15 seats in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies, compared to 78 seats controlled by Andrej Babis's ANO movement, the winner of the October 2017 general election.

To win the Chamber's confidence, a joint ANO-CSSD minority government would need support of at least one further party. Observers mention the Communists (KSCM) most often in this connection.

Hamacek said the caretaker governance of Babis's current ANO minority government, which failed to win parliament's confidence in January, is far from a standard situation.

"We are trying to help prevent this situation from lasting long, not to strike a deal [with ANO] at any cost," Hamacek said.

ANO, too, is going to make an internal survey to see whether its members prefer a minority or a majority coalition government.

Zimola repeated that he can imagine a new government being comprised of ANO, the CSSD and the Christian Democratic Union (KDU-CSL), which were government partners in the previous election term.

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