Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Zeman to discuss government with PM Babiš next week

ČTK |
14 March 2018

Prague, March 13 (CTK) - President Milos Zeman will dine with Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) who will inform him about progress in the negotiations on his second cabinet next week, Zeman's spokesman Jiri Ovcacek told reporters on Tuesday.

Zeman has not given any close deadline to Babis who has enough time to form another government till the summer. Nevertheless, Zeman demands that Babis negotiate intensively, Ovcacek added.

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. Zeman assigned him to lead talks on it.

Babis said last week that he would try to speed up the talks on his next government in reaction to Zeman saying he was a bit nervous about the little progress in the talks.

This might be because Zeman does not have all information as ANO does not report all dates of the expert teams' negotiations to the media, Babis explained.

Ovcacek said on Tuesday that Babis had asked for one of the meetings with Zeman that should be held once a month, based on the previous agreement.

"I suppose it will take place next week in the form of a friendly dinner," Ovcacek said, adding that the government talks would be among the discussed topics.

This week, Babis plans another round of negotiations about his second cabinet.

On Thursday, he will meet the Communists (KSCM), the anti-EU populist Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) movement and the Social Democrats (CSSD).

Besides, Babis is talking about a meeting to debate government cooperation with right-wing Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman Petr Fiala.

Fiala, on his part, said he understood Babis's statement as nothing but pressure Babis was exerting on other potential coalition partners.

Ovcacek also said Zeman would meet Ukrainian priest and theologian Igor Kozlovski for whose release by the pro-Russian rebels in Donbas he had pleaded at a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Kozlovski was among the captives whom Ukrainians had exchanged with pro-Russian rebels at the end of last year.

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