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ČSSD should cancel govt pact, start talks about new one, Babiš says

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Prague, May 9 (CTK) – Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) should terminate the present coalition pact of the three government parties and then negotiate about a new pact if he wants to dismiss Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO), ANO said in a press release issued today.

“The prime minister violated the coalition pact. If he wants stability for the country, he should terminate the pact and negotiate about a new one,” Babis said.

Last week, Sobotka proposed that President Milos Zeman dismiss Babis as finance minister due to the latter’s suspected tax evasion and abuse of independent media in political struggle. Zeman said he would deal with the proposal only after he returns from China on May 18.

The CSSD urged Zeman to dismiss Babis without procrastination, arguing with the constitution and the country’s stability. Zeman said today Babis’s dismissal was possible only after the coalition pact is terminated. The Social Democrats and the third government party, the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) rejected this argument.

The ANO movement said the coalition pact gives the prime minister the right to propose dismissals of ministers, but it says the party that nominated the minister has to approve the step first.

ANO has not agreed with the sacking of its leader Babis.

Babis said it is Sobotka who caused the current government crisis because he used false arguments and took illegal steps in a political campaign aiming to harm ANO, the most popular party in the country, five months before the general election.

ANO is the clear favourite of the elections scheduled for October, the latest opinion polls indicated.

Babis called on Sobotka to terminate the coalition pact and negotiate about a new one. ANO wants the new pact to include guarantees that the government would rule until the elections without any further personnel changes, Babis said.

The leaders of the three coalition parties will meet on May 10.

kva/dr/rtj

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