Wednesday, 18 July 2018

ODS leader: Nascent government is populist, semi-communist

ČTK |
14 May 2018

Prague, May 11 (CTK) - The draft policy statement of a nascent next Czech cabinet of ANO and the Social Democrats (CSSD) consists of ineffective leftist plans and populist phrases, and the minority cabinet relying on Communist support would be semi-Communist, Civic Democrat (ODS) leader Petr Fiala said on Friday.

He commented on the draft that has been approved by the ANO leadership on Friday and is to be discussed by the CSSD leadership before being submitted to the CSSD rank and file to decide on in a party referendum.

Fiala said the important thing is not only what the draft contains but also what it does not contain.

"Prime Minister [and ANO chairman Andrej] Babis should therefore clearly tell the public under what personnel conditions the KSCM will join the government [alliance]," Fiala said, alluding to the KSCM's demands for seats on the boards of state-run companies.

TOP 09 deputy chairwoman Marketa Pekarova Adamova said the CSSD excessively yielded to ANO in the government-forming negotiations.

"Eyeing ministerial seats..., the CSSD seems to have given in and ceased to mind [Babis as] a prosecuted prime minister and the KSCM's share in power," Pekarova Adamova told CTK.

Babis is prosecuted over a suspected EU subsidy fraud dating back to the late 2000s.

Pekarova Adamova said she is waiting to see the outcome of the CSSD referendum to be held in the next four weeks.

Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) leader Pavel Belobradek criticised the planned government's dependance on the KSCM's support. "It does not seem important what the next cabinet wants to do for our homeland, but what ANO and the CSSD are capable of doing in order to regain power. This is sad," Belobradek tweeted.

Fiala said the draft government policy statement, which the government, if established, would submit to the Chamber of Deputies for approval in a confidence vote, is based on a combination of ineffective leftist solutions along with populist phrases.

"I can see nothing in it that would reduce bureaucracy in the country, facilitate the life of active and hard-working people and raise the living standard of citizens. It is a bad piece of news for all self-employed people and small and medium-sized tradespeople, a bad piece of news for those who seek deregulation and a reduction of bureaucracy," Fiala said.

The Pirate Party said the government's draft policy statement has a number of shortcomings, it insufficiently deals with a pension reform, vaguely juggles with the estimated length of motorways construction and provides for an unfounded extension of powers of the Customs Authority.

The Pirates also criticised the document for not planning the withdrawal of the state support for biofuels. On the other hand, they praised the government's pledge to raise the wages of teachers and health workers.

The CSSD is expected to release the result of its internal referendum on whether to form a government with ANO, the winner of the October 2017 elections, under the conditions as agreed upon by the two parties' leaderships.

On Saturday, the draft policy statement will be assessed by the leadership of the KSCM, the party which is supposed to tolerate the coalition government and whose 15 seats in the 200-seat lower house secure the government's majority of 108.

Negotiations between ANO and the KSCM about an agreement on the latter's latent support for the cabinet will be discussed this week.

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