Prague, March 28 (CTK) – ANO leader Andrej Babis is courting the Czech opposition Mayors and Independents (STAN) movement, but its nascent election coalition with the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) might reject cooperation with him eventually, Lukas Jelinek writes in daily Pravo yesterday.

ANO, which is the favourite of the October general election, forms the current coalition government with the Social Democrats (CSSD) and the KDU-CSL.

The KDU-CSL/STAN coalition would have to gain at least 10 percent of the vote to enter the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament, but if it succeeded, it would become a significant political force, Jelinek writes.

He says President Milos Zeman and billionaire and Finance Minister Babis, who are often of one mind, differ about the assessment of STAN. While Zeman calls it “a fraudulent club” and wishes STAN’s election debacle, Babis praises the Mayors seeing heads of family firms in them who have common sense and a thrifty approach in common with him.

Babis would like to include STAN in “his political holding” before his right-wing or leftist competitors, primarily the CSSD, do so, Jelinek adds.

However, he thereby also offers a hand to the KDU-CSL with which STAN probably forms an election coalition.

“I feel sorry that in the current government the Christian Democrats stand closer to the Social Democrats. But they may not support them so much after the alliance with the Mayors,” Babis told Pravo sincerely.

This scenario cannot be ruled out, but it is not certain, Jelinek writes.

First, it is not sure that STAN’s experience from municipal politics will play more into the hands of ANO than the CSSD, which is after all more stabilised and predictable in this area.

Besides, STAN actively opposed the introduction of the electronic sales registration (EET), which Babis pushed through and many municipal politicians criticised. This may be an obstacle to STAN’s cooperation with ANO.

To win STAN’s support, Babis will also have to overcome a crucial discrepancy as well. While the Mayors promote the maximum decentralisation, Babis is the embodiment of the firmest possible centralisation, Jelinek points out.

STAN behaves prudently and knows its “marketing” price though its preferences are now deeply under the 5-percent parliamentary threshold.

Moreover, the movement must persuade the cautious and mistrustful Christian Democrats, who fear to be ousted from the Chamber of Deputies, that their joint election coalition will be advantageous for both sides, Jelinek writes.

He adds that “enlightened party leaders” with higher ambitions reach an agreement easier than individual politicians in regions.

It is hard to estimate the future course of STAN. At the same time, the Mayors are often “political free spirits” whom the life has taught to rely mainly on themselves.

“So far we only know that STAN has a clear idea of how to raise the value of its stock on the national level. When and if this happens, it will depend both on its agreement with the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) and on a particular offer of its wooers in whose open arms the movement will seek shelter after the election,” Jelinek writes in conclusion in Pravo.
hol/t/pv