Wednesday, 19 June 2019

ANO, ČSSD leaders reach coalition agreement acceptable for both

ČTK |
9 May 2018

Prague, May 7 (CTK) - Czech ANO leader Andrej Babis (ANO) and Social Democrat (CSSD) leader Jan Hamacek on Monday agreed on the text of an ANO-CSSD coalition pact acceptable for the CSSD, which covers all safeguards the CSSD wanted it to contain, Hamacek has told journalists.

Babis did not specify the pact's contents but said he expected ANO deputies to be satisfied with it.

Hamacek said he wants to acquaint the CSSD leadership with the draft pact on Friday first, which is why he would not release its details for now.

Babis said he expects the deal to gain approval on Friday, when the ANO lawmakers' group will meet.

Hamacek said he and Babis "reached agreement on a text that is acceptable for the CSSD and deals with all issues that had to be dealt with."

Asked whether the draft coalition agreement binds the future prime minister to resign if all CSSD ministers resigned, Hamacek answered in the affirmative.

He said "in his opinion" the draft also covers the CSSD's requirement that a member of the cabinet resign if convicted.

The CSSD's requirement obviously targets Babis, who faces prosecution for a suspected EU subsidy fraud.

Babis told journalists he cannot see any reason for anyone to be convicted, and referred to the state attorney's recent decision to halt the prosecution of four of the eleven people prosecuted over the fraud.

However, Babis's complaint against his prosecution has been rejected as unfounded by the state attorney last week.

Hamacek said the draft coalition agreement also mentions the way of the Chamber of Deputies' functioning although it does not mention any concrete names.

In recent days, the CSSD demanded that anti-EU Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) lawmakers be dismissed from high posts in the Chamber.

"I can see no reason for us to return to October 2017," said Babis, alluding to the situation in the wake of the elections when the lower house bodies were only starting to be constituted.

Babis, whose ANO comfortably won the October elections, did not rule out that ANO might fill some ministerial posts with different people than those who hold them in his current cabinet, which is ANO's one-colour cabinet which lost a confidence vote in parliament in January.

At present, ANO and the CSSD continue negotiating about a possible joint government's policy statement. On Wednesday, it is to be discussed by representatives of ANO, the CSSD and probably also the Communist Party (KSCM), which is to keep the ANO-CSSD minority government afloat in parliament, Hamacek said.

KSCM chairman Vojtech Filip partly attended the Babis-Hamacek talks on Monday.

Before, he told journalists that he would submit a draft deal on the KSCM's toleration of an ANO-CSSD cabinet to the two leaders.

"We expect to sign a document [in this respect] with the KSCM," said Babis.

If ANO and the CSSD reach agreement on the draft government policy statement, the CSSD board might on Friday call a planned intra-party referendum on whether the CSSD should form a government with ANO. The referendum result might be available in the first week of June, Hamacek said, refusing to estimate the result.

Babis said he still believes that the new cabinet may ask the Chamber of Deputies for a confidence vote by the end of June.

On Tuesday afternoon, Babis will meet President Milos Zeman to acquaint him with the development of the government-forming negotiations.

Copyright 2015 by the Czech News Agency (ČTK). All rights reserved.
Copying, dissemination or other publication of this article or parts thereof without the prior written consent of ČTK is expressly forbidden. The Prague Daily Monitor is not responsible for its content.