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MPs call on Babiš to apologise to investigation commission

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Prague, Feb 2 (CTK) – The Czech Chamber of Deputies passed a resolution calling on Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) to apologise for his comments on the parliamentary commission investigating a controversial police shakeup, whose final report he labelled humbug, mockery and a dirty job on Thursday.

The appeal, proposed by Chamber of Deputies chairman Jan Hamacek (Social Democrats, CSSD), was approved as part of a series of the Chamber’s resolutions related to the report the commission submitted earlier on Thursday.

In the debate preceding the vote, Hamacek said Babis’s comments were scandalous, unacceptable and challenged the foundations of democracy, and he called on Babis to apologise, which he refused to do.

Hamacek then proposed that the Chamber pass the above resolution, which it eventually did.

A total of 82 deputies across the political spectrum supported the proposal, except for deputies from Babis’s ANO movement, who voted against it, and most deputies from the minor opposition Dawn movement, who abstained from the vote.

“I have no one to apologise to,” Babis told the Chamber, reacting to its appeal.

Asked by CTK, Hamacek said that Babis faces no punishment if he failed to apologise.

“The ‘Czech Palermo’ has won, this is how I see the conclusion of the commission of investigation,” said Babis, who was opposed to the police reform.

He said the senior government CSSD, the rightist opposition Civic Democrats (ODS) and opposition TOP 09 chairman Miroslav Kalousek, all are Palermo.

Babis insists that last year’s police shakeup, or merger of two national elite units proposed by the police command and supported by the CSSD, was aimed to disperse Robert Slachta’s anti-mafia squad (UOOZ) because it dared to investigate the CSSD’s corruption.

Babis called it absurd that the commission’s head was Pavel Blazek (opposition Civic Democrats, ODS), who was justice minister in the government of PM Petr Necas (ODS) that collapsed due to a series of scandals triggered by the Slachta unit’s raid on the Government Office in mid-2013.

In its final report presented on Thursday, the commission comprised of lawmakers from all parties in parliament stated that the disputed police shakeup did not aim to remove Slachta, restrict the police squads’ activities or prevent the investigation into certain cases, which was previously asserted by its critics including ANO and some state attorneys.

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