Saturday, 22 September 2018

ODS chairman Fiala to meet PM Babiš, hear his arguments

ČTK |
14 March 2018

Prague, March 13 (CTK) - Right-wing Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman Petr Fiala has received an invitation to talks on government cooperation from Czech PM Andrej Babis (ANO) and is prepared to hear him, Fiala told CTK on Tuesday.

However, he added that he considered Babis's negotiations incomprehensible and unclear, unlike the clear stance of the ODS.

Babis's ANO minority government lost a confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies in January and resigned, but it continues ruling pending the establishment of Babis's new cabinet.

The ODS has repeatedly stated that it will not enter a government headed by a prosecuted prime minister, hinting at Babis being prosecuted on suspicion of an EU subsidy fraud.

However, Babis argues that disunited voices are heard from the ODS, and this is why he wants to know the party's official stance from Fiala again.

"I will hear Andrej Babis. The stance of the ODS is clear and comprehensible. On the contrary, the negotiations of the prime minister, who tendered his resignation, are not clear and comprehensible at all," Fiala said on the planned Thursday meeting.

Babis said on Sunday he was considering a proposal for cooperation with the ODS, which outraged Social Democrat (CSSD) chairman Jan Hamacek. He threatened with ending the talks with ANO.

Fiala, on his part, said he understood Babis's statement as nothing but pressure Babis was exerting on other potential coalition partners with the aim to cover up his real partners - the Communists (KSCM) and the far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD).

Babis discussed his intention with the ANO leadership on Monday.

Babis told reporters in Liberec, north Bohemia, on Tuesday that he did not think the ODS would really like to negotiate about its entry into the government. However, he would like to finally make it clear at a meeting with Fiala on Thursday, he added.

ANO will also negotiate with the KSCM, CSSD and SPD on Thursday, Babis said.

ANO, with 78 seats in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies, would have a majority of 103 votes together with the ODS (25 seats).

However, the ODS says the government cooperation with ANO is prevented not only because of the prosecuted prime minister, but also the movement's so far negative stance on the ODS's proposals in the Chamber of Deputies. While ANO supports the bills proposed by the KSCM and SPD, the ANO minority government rejects the ODS's proposals.

The ODS's broader leadership adopted a resolution not to support an ANO minority government last December.

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