Prague, May 23 (CTK) – Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) welcomes President Milos Zeman’s decision to dismiss Andrej Babis from the government and appoint Ivan Pilny (both ANO) as a new finance minister, he told reporters today.

However, he said Zeman could have reacted faster.

Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said today Zeman would dismiss Deputy PM, Finance Minister and ANO chairman Andrej Babis and appoint Pilny on Wednesday.

Sobotka said he was glad that he would not have to file a competence complaint against Zeman, which he planned if the president had not acted “without an unnecessary delay.”

Sobotka justified his proposal for Babis’s dismissal by the suspicions of tax evasion and influencing the media Babis owned.

The ANO movement first proposed Babis’s deputy Alena Schillerova and Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) for his replacement. Sobotka rejected these names, arguing with the candidates’ close links to the Agrofert Holding.

Babis owned the concern, including several media outlets, until February when he transferred it to trustee funds to comply with an amended conflict of interest law.

Zeman decision will probably terminate the crisis of the coalition government of the CSSD, ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) that started three weeks ago. They were accompanied by several twist and turns, mutual accusations and insulting mainly of Babis and Sobotka but also other top politicians.

hol/dr/pv