Thursday, 15 November 2018

ODS leader: Babiš's government politically dangerous

ČTK |
12 July 2018

Prague, July 11 (CTK) - The government of Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO), which has come to ask the Czech Chamber of Deputies for confidence, poses a political danger and is a politically unknown terrain, the leader of the opposition Civic Democratic Party (ODS), Petr Fiala, said in the debate on Wednesday.

Fiala warned that the conditions on which the Communists (KSCM) would support the government were not known.

The minority coalition government of ANO and the Social Democrats must rely on the Communist backing.

The responsibility for the return of the Communist party to power is shouldered not only by President Milos Zeman and Babis, but also every lawmaker who will stand up to back such a government, Fiala said.

"The policy statement is like a scrap collection centre. There are lots of things, but few, if any can be reused," he added.

Fiala said his party would not vote the confidence in the government.

If the government gains confidence, the ODS will act as a principled and tough opposition.

It will also seek a shorter duration of the government than the remaining three years and three months and it will be ready to offer an alternative to the public.

The government is incomplete, Fiala said.

"A government which is incomplete has asked for confidence. It got one minister hastily yesterday, which is something unseen," he added, alluding to the rapid replacement of Justice Minister Tatana Mala with Jan Knezinek.

Mala was forced to resign over a plagiarism scandal after mere two weeks in office.

Social Democrat leader Jan Hamacek is also the acting head of the Foreign Ministry because President Milos Zeman has refused to name MEP Miroslav Poche, due to what he called support for migrants and referring to the corruption allegations.

Miroslav Kalousek, leader of the deputies for TOP 09, said the KSCM would have a bigger influence on the minority government of ANO and the CSSD "than the one-use Social Democrats."

The Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) will not express confidence in the government because it is headed by Babis, who is criminally prosecuted over an EU subsidy fraud.

"There are some limits that cannot be crossed," KDU-CSL leader Pavel Belobradek said.

Unlike Babis and Communist leader Vojtech Filip, Hamacek has no cover name, Kalousek said, in a veiled reference to what some call their collaboration with the Communist StB secret service under the previous regime.

The KSCM will be a "strong fifth pro-Putin column" in the executive, Kalousek said.

"This will be a government of a permanent and unprecedented conflict of interests," Kalousek said, warning of the "budget irresponsibility" of the government.

Although the Czech Republic has seen "excellent growth" for several years, the government is planning deficits for the next three years.

Since the policy statement is drafted in quite general terms, no debate about it is possible. It lacks any measures in the event of a future economic crisis, Kalousek said.

"There is the real risk with which the government must reckon," he added.

Belobradek warned of a creeping coup and said the rules of the game were not respected.

He said that Zeman had not asked Babis to confirm the majority support in the Chamber of Deputies before naming him, although he had done so in the case of his predecessors.

The current Babis's government will not lean on the support of Tomio Okamura's Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), but, as Zeman has recommended, the current format is almost the same, Belobradek said.

Okamura said the government of ANO and CSSD was a "motley government conglomerate" with a bad pro-Brussels, social, economic and security policy.

Okamura said he did not trust Babis. He has companies in Germany, living from European subsidies.

"He will be singing the song composed elsewhere, not here. We cannot back a government controlled from Brussels," he added.

Hamacek, too, cannot be trusted to control the diplomacy in the Czech Republic's interest, Okamura said.

He warned of Hamacek being active in the NGO Aspen Institute Prague and controversial financier Zdenek Bakala having opened the Prague branch of the Aspen Institute .

The Mayors and Independents (STAN) will not give confidence to the government of ANO and the Social Democrats with the Communist backing because it is a "government of the past and a government of the blind alley," Jan Farsky, chairman of the STAN deputy group, said.

Farsky said Babis only observed the rules if this was beneficial to him.

"Otherwise he bends, violates or cancels them," Farsky said, stressing that some time ago ANO changed its moral code under which Babis, as a criminally prosecuted person, could be neither its deputy nor a member.

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