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PM: Gov’t would survive no-confidence vote if taken

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Prague, May 16 (CTK) – The Czech government would most probably survive a no-confidence vote if it were pushed through by the opposition Communists (KSCM), Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told CTK on Tuesday, adding that the KSCM’s call for it as a solution to the government crisis is absurd.

He said he has been pushing for the dismissal of Andrej Babis (ANO) as a deputy prime minister and finance minister in accordance with the Chamber of Deputies’ resolution.

The cabinet of the CSSD, ANO and the Christian Democrats (KSCM) would most probably survive a no-confidence vote, since none of the three partners has declared its will to leave the government coalition, Sobotka said.

“I do not fully comprehend why a vote of no confidence in the cabinet should be taken now. Furthermore, I reacted to the Chamber of Deputies’ resolution asking me to start action if the deputy PM and finance minister [Babis] failed to explain his transactions linked to one-crown bonds and his deals between him and [his] Agrofert Holding,” Sobotka said.

The Chamber of Deputies eventually also stated that Babis told lies, Sobotka said, probably alluding to the recent emergence of audio recordings indicating that Babis inadmissibly influenced the media he owned, in spite of his previous vows that he never had and would never do so.

The KSCM has been collecting deputies’ signatures in support for convoking an extraordinary session of the Chamber of Deputies.

To explain the effort, KSCM chairman Vojtech Filip says constitutional officials have ceased to communicate with each other in a normal way.

He may be alluding to a rift between Sobotka’s CSSD and Babis’s ANO and between the CSSD and President Milos Zeman, who is reluctant to sack Babis.

The right-wing opposition parties, however, do not plan to join the KSCM’s effort to push-through a no-confidence vote.

Both TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats (ODS) said after their deputies groups’ separate meetings on Tuesday that the toppling of the government would enhance President Zeman’s position amid the government crisis, which they do not wish.

Deputies for the minor opposition Dawn movement took a reserved stance on the KSCM’s plan and said they will wait for Zeman’s next steps before deciding on whether to support the KSCM’s initiative.

The KSCM wants the government leaders to explain their idea of the government’s further work.

The government parties command a majority of 111 votes in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies.

CSSD deputy Marie Benesova, however, has supported the KSCM’s effort to convoke an extraordinary session and topple the government.

Sobotka said Benesova has probably been motivated by her friendship with Jana Vanhova, former Usti Region governor for the CSSD who faces prosecution over misuse of EU subsidies, and also by Benesova’s failure to be nominated as a CSSD candidate in the October general election.

The ANO movement said Benesova’s step is another violation of the coalition pact between the government parties, which clearly says that government deputies would not back any no-confidence vote proposal.

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