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Cabinet to send same 2018 draft budget to new lower house

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Prague, Oct 23 (CTK) – The outgoing Czech government confirmed on Monday that it would submit the approved draft state budget for 2018 with a 50-billion-crown deficit to the newly elected Chamber of Deputies, its spokesman Martin Ayrer has said.

According to the rules of procedure, the new Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament, will automatically deal with the motions submitted to the previous Chamber.

“We approved the budget bill in the identical wording on Monday and it will be sent to the Chamber of Deputies so that no time is lost and the new Chamber, as soon as it is constituted, avoids a stopgap budget,” outgoing Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) told journalists.

“The talk about the budget was very short, it was a mere formality,” Finance Minister Ivan Pilny (ANO) said.

The budget revenues are projected at 1314.5 billion crowns and the expenditures at 1364.5 billion crowns in the draft that the government of the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) approved in late September.

MPs are to pass the budget by the end of the year, otherwise the country would face a stopgap budget.

The government will have to submit the report on the state final account for 2016, according to which the state budget had a surplus of 61.8 billion crowns. The cabinet proposed to use most of the surplus for saving money on state bonds and increase the state financial assets by nearly one billion crowns.

The government submitted the bill on the 2016 state final account in April, but the lower house budgetary committee discussed it only in September.

Andrej Babis’s ANO won the general election with 29.6 percent, followed by the Civic Democrats (ODS) with 11.3 percent and the third Pirates with 10.8 percent of the vote. Another six parties also entered the Chamber of Deputies: the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) of Tomio Okamura with 10.6 percent, the Communists (KSCM) with 7.8 percent, the Social Democrats (CSSD) with 7.3 percent, the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) with 5.8 percent, TOP 09 with 5.3 percent and the Mayors and Independents (STAN) with 5.2 percent.

ANO will have 78 seats in the 200-seat lower house, the ODS 25, the SPD and the Pirates 22 each, the KSCM and the CSSD 15 each, the KDU-CSL ten, TOP 09 seven and STAN six.

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