Friday, 6 July 2018

Ministers differ on ANO's cooperation with Communists, SPD

ČTK |
12 April 2018

Prague, April 11 (CTK) - The ministers of the Czech ANO minority government considerably differ about ANO's possible cooperation with the Communists (KSCM) and the far-right anti-EU Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), they told reporters during the government meeting on Wednesday.

President Milos Zeman talked about this cooperation with ANO chairman and Prime Minister Andrej Babis on Tuesday evening.

Babis's government resigned after it lost a confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies in January. Zeman assigned Babis to lead negotiations about the formation of his second government.

Transport Minister Dan Tok (ANO) reiterated this morning that if ANO cooperated with the KSCM and SPD, he would not only leave the ministerial post, but also give up his mandate in the Chamber of Deputies.

"I do not want to assist in legitimising the parties that should not be legitimised," Tok told reporters.

On the contrary, Regional Development Minister Klara Dostalova (for ANO) says all parties that succeeded in the general election are democratic.

"Five months have passed since the (last October) general election and we have addressed all parties," Dostalova said, adding that the possibility of cooperation with the "traditionally democratic" parties failed.

She said that in the current context, she would not mind cooperation with the Communists and the SPD.

Finance Minister Alena Schillerova (for ANO) said she would not oppose the toleration (of the government) by the SPD and KSCM if the ANO movement succeeded in pushing through its programme and if its government were pro-European.

She also stressed that there were not many other possibilities left for ANO in view of the balance of forces in the Chamber of Deputies.

"I would not mind a government tolerated by the SPD and the Communists," Agriculture Minister Jiri Milek (for ANO) said.

Health Minister Adam Vojtech (for ANO) said there were more and more alternatives emerging, for instance, to re-open the talks with the Social Democrats (CSSD).

He refused to comment on a possible ANO government kept afloat by the SPD and the KSCM.

Defence Minister Karla Slechtova (ANO) said she definitely cannot imagine the KSCM and SPD in the government. However, the talks on their support for the cabinet were the only possibility ensuing from the ANO negotiations with the other parties.

Slechtova previously labelled the SPD as "fascist." Now she said she had done so three days before the general election and that this had helped ANO score points among voters.

"I am a quite principled person, but naturally any party or movement deserves a certain chance to present itself on its own," she said.

Zeman has recommended that the election-winning ANO movement continue negotiations on a new government with the SPD and the KSCM.

Babis said after their meeting that Zeman had been very surprised at last week's failure of the government negotiations between ANO and the Social Democrats (CSSD). They collapsed although consensus on programme had been achieved and only personnel issues remained open, Babis added.

ANO will now convoke meetings of its supreme bodies, that is the broader leadership and its committee, that are most likely to meet on Thursday, Babis said.

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