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Czech government not to defend “Lex Babiš” in court

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Prague, April 19 (CTK) – The Czech government will not defend the conflict of interest law dubbed Lex Babis before the Constitutional Court (US), Human Rights and Legislation Minister Jan Chvojka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said in a press release on Wednesday.

The ministers for the ANO movement and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) are against the government’s participation in the court proceedings, he added.

President Milos Zeman and ANO MPs filed a complaint with the US against the conflict of interest law, called Lex Babis because of its impact on Deputy PM, Finance Minister and ANO chairman Andrej Babis.

This law bars firms controlled by ministers from access to public contracts, state subsidies and incentives and it also bans the government members from owning media outlets.

“We respect the government’s majority decision that the government will not be a minor participant in the Constitutional Court’s proceedings in the case of a complaint against the conflict of interest law. I regret it since I am convinced that the government should simply be present in the proceeding of such an important law,” Chvojka said.

Agriculture Minister Marian Jurecka (KDU-CSL) told reporters that he thought the US should be able to assess correctly whether the legislation was at variance with the constitution.

Opposition TOP 09 head Miroslav Kalousek criticised the government’s decision not to enter the court proceedings. “This is its (the amendment’s) shame,” he tweeted.

The new conflict of interest law took effect in mid-February.

Billionaire businessman Babis transferred his Agrofert, a chemical, food, agricultural and media holding, to two trust funds in order to comply with the new law.

Zeman considers the legislation anti-constitutional since it violates the ban on discrimination on the basis of property.

Zeman first vetoed the bill and when he was outvoted, he sent a complaint against it with the US.

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