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ČSSD referendum on government with ANO to run through June 14

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Prague, May 11 (CTK) – The Czech Social Democrat (CSSD) internal referendum on whether to form a coalition government with ANO, tolerated by Communists (KSCM), will be held from May 21 to June 14, and its result will be known on June 15, CSSD leader Jan Hamacek said after a meeting of the CSSD board on Friday.

At its next session, the CSSD board will announce the names of the candidates for the five ministerial posts the CSSD is to have in the proposed cabinet, which will probably have 15 members, Hamacek said.

Ahead of the party referendum, the CSSD members will receive the draft coalition agreement and government policy statement as agreed upon by the two parties’ negotiators earlier this week.

The CSSD board will then ask the rank-and-file in the referendum whether they agree with the party’s entry into the government based on the conditions set in the above two documents.

The balloting will be secret and will take place at the meetings of the party’s local branches.

Hamacek said the CSSD board will not give any recommendations on how the members should vote. “We have promised to leave it up to our members,” he said.

Nevertheless, he said he plans to send a letter to the party members to convey his personal stance to them. He said he expects other CSSD leaders to do the same.

He said he considers the CSSD-ANO coalition deal a decent compromise and the maximum of what could have been achieved, and it is up to the rank-and-file to consider whether it is acceptable to them.

The CSSD has succeeded in securing its dignified position in the planned government, pushing through its main programme priorities and also securing sufficient safeguards to prevent ANO from circumventing the CSSD as a government partner.

The strongest of them is the coalition pact’s provision that binds the PM and the whole cabinet to resign if all five CSSD ministers resigned.

“In my view, this is a good basis for the establishment of a stable government and for the period of a cabinet ruling without a confidence to end,” Hamacek said about the ANO-CSSD deal.

He would not comment on the possible calling of an early election if the CSSD [referendum] rejected the party’s government entry, but said the chief responsibility for forming a stable government is up to the ANO movement of Andrej Babis, which comfortably won the October 2017 general election.

If formed, an ANO-CSSD cabinet would be a minority one, with 93 seats in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies. The KSCM, with 15 seats, previously promised to keep it afloat, and definitive negotiations in this respect are yet to be held.

Babis heads an ANO minority government established last December, which, however, lost a confidence vote in January.

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