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Czech News in English » News » Politics » Zeman to address MPs before confidence vote on January 10

Zeman to address MPs before confidence vote on January 10

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Prague, Jan 4 (CTK) – The session of the lower house of Czech parliament that will take a confidence vote in the minority government of Andrej Babis (ANO) will open on Wednesday, January 10, at 10:00 and President Milos Zeman will address the house at 11:00, lower house chairman Radek Vondracek (ANO) said on Thursday.

The vote of confidence into the new government is the only point on the session’s agenda, he told journalists after a meeting of the lower house organisational committee.

Zeman will probably speak in favour of the new cabinet, however, Babis’s team is unlikely to win the required majority support from the parliament.

The ANO movement is the dominant group in the Chamber of Deputies, but its 78 MPs are not enough since none of the other parties in the 200-seat house promised to support its minority government.

The Communists (KSCM) who have 15 MPs are considering supporting the government, while the other seven parties rejected such a possibility. A government needs to be supported by a majority of the MPs present to win the confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies.

If the government does not win the confidence vote, it will resign and the president will entrust another politician with trying to form a government. Zeman said he would choose Babis for prime minister-designate again. Some parties indicated they might join, support or tolerate Babis’s possible next cabinet.

The KSCM said it would make its final decision on January 9. On the same day, the lower house mandate and immunity committee will deal with a repeated police request for the release of Babis for criminal prosecution over a suspected EU subsidy fraud.

Before taking the confidence vote, the MPs will hold a debate that may be rather long.

Vondracek said he does not expect any obstructions. “The debate in the organisational committee was calm and matter-of-fact,” he said.

Zeman named Babis’s government on December 13. The new government must ask for the lower house’s support within 30 days after its appointment.

Babis presented the draft government’s policy statement and its final version is to be released on Tuesday.

Four years ago, Zeman addressed the lower house before the confidence vote taken in the former centre-left government of Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD). He said there were discrepancies between the policy statement and the agreement signed by the three coalition parties.

Two days after the confidence vote, the first round of the direct presidential election will be held. Zeman is defending his post and he is the favourite of the election. His strongest rival seems to be former Academy of Sciences head Jiri Drahos.

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