Prague, Sept 5 (CTK) – Czech politicians should not shun the idea of a broad coalition of democratic parties standing against Andrej Babis and his ANO movement in the government-forming talks after the 2017 general election, Marek Svehla writes in weekly Respekt out on Monday in reaction to a recent scandal of Babis.

Last week, Babis, deputy PM, finance minister and chemical, food and media magnate, visited Varnsdorf, a north Bohemian “town of racial tension.” The government is aware of the tension and seeks ways to reduce it, but still Babis used his visit to make populist statements aimed to score political points ahead of the October 7-8 regional and Senate elections, Svehla writes.

He saw the houses inhabited by the local poor Romany community, which he labelled “a dirt he never saw before” and wondered why the locals were not at work. Afterwards, he said in a debate with the Romanies’ “white” neighbours that all Romanies worked in the past and that the media information that the wartime camp for Romanies in Lety, south Bohemia, was a concentration camp, is a lie.

“It was a labour camp. Who did not work, ended up there,” Babis reportedly said, Svehla writes.

Babis later said he had only presented the opinion of one of his acquaintances and by no means does he want to deny the Holocaust. He even apologised.

However, the Holocaust is too serious an issue to discuss how people meant or did not mean their statements belittling the victims of Nazi mass murdering, Svehla writes, adding that Babis evidently likes the idea of people being interned in camps over their insufficient work zeal.

Babis’s visit to Varnsdorf repeatedly proved that his political culture is different from that in decent countries. He has bought big media, though this undermines one of the principles of a liberal state – the separation of politics and the control of politics, Svehla writes.

Babis ignores his “mammoth clash of interests” where he, in his capacity as finance minister, supervises the business sphere and runs business at the same time. He even pretends not to understand what is controversial about it, Svehla writes.

Babis likes to make clear his contempt of parliament, a pillar of democracy. Most recently, he even offended the victims of the worst ever genocide within his hunt for voters’ support, Svehla writes.

With amazing easiness, Babis acts counter to the Czech state’s effort to achieve the qualities of a decent Western country, Svehla writes.

As Babis has a real chance to win the 2017 general election and govern the country, his effort to change the Czech state must be taken seriously, Svehla writes.

To join the next government, Babis would need coalition partners and his prospects in this respect are far from rosy. He refers to the [opposition] rightist parties as thieves. The Social Democrats (CSSD) and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) are his present government partners, but he shows little respect for their ideas, traditions and work. He gets on well with PM and CSSD chairman Bohuslav Sobotka only thanks to the latter’s non-conflict nature, Svehla writes.

As Babis despises both his present and potential political partners, they take a similar approach to him, which is a “hopeful” situation, Svehla continues.

If Babis is really as big a risk for Czech democracy, as he seems to be and as both left- and right-wing politicians indicate, it should not be an insurmountable problem to consider the forming of a broad anti-Babis coalition of democratic parties during the post-election negotiations next year, Svehla writes.

The idea should be considered also in order to deter Babis from his populist methods now, he writes.

True, the idea of the CSSD allying with the right wing TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats (ODS) seems unrealistic, but the idea of the Czech Republic with Milos Zeman as president and Andrej Babis as prime minister looks far worse, Svehla writes.

However, the developments may be undesirably influenced by the nationalist wing in the ODS, which says the dividing line in Czech politics should not be Babis and the threat he embodies, but Prague’s relation to the EU and Germany. The scene should divide into the supporters and opponents accordingly, the ODS wing insists.

If so, a politically bizarre alliance of Babis, the Communists, the ODS and [populist] Tomio Okamura would emerge on the Czech scene, Svehla writes.

The question is whether a bigger evil is represented by the EU and Prague’s accommodating approach to Germany, or Babis’s conflict of interest, servile media and the pre-election denial of the Holocaust, Svehla concludes.