Prague, Oct 12 (CTK) – The current Czech government is meeting the programme of the Social Democratic Party (CSSD), while the ANO movement of Finance Minister Andrej Babis is focusing on marketing, and the CSSD is both satisfied and dissatisfied with the situation, weekly Tyden writes in its issue out yesterday.
It is first of all Babis whose popularity has been growing, while the CSSD programme is being fulfilled. Opinion polls show that Babis is clearly the most popular politician in the country and ANO would win with a comfortable lead ahead of the CSSD, if elections were held now, Tyden writes.
“This is a long-term problem of the Social Democrats. We focus on work and the ANO movement on marketing. We must pay more attention to selling our work in the government,” Prime Minister and CSSD leader Bohuslav Sobotka told the weekly.
Sobotka is right that the government is meeting the promises that the CSSD gave before the elections two years ago, Tyden writes.
This view is shared by the CSSD, the Christian Democrats (junior ruling KDU-CSL), the opposition and political analysts, in other words by nearly everybody except for the ANO movement, Tyden writes.
ANO first deputy chairman Jaroslav Faltynek dismissed this. “I am afraid that this is merely your impression,” he told Tyden reporters.
Civic Democrat (opposition right-wing ODS) leader Petr Fiala said “though media praise Andrej Babis, prime minister Sobotka is the real ruler of the coalition.”
ANO actually has promised its voters almost nothing, aside from talking about a change in the style in which the country is being ruled, Tyden writes.
“Being finance minister, Babis controls the money, but apart from the fight against corruption he has no programme points that he can push through by bills,” political scientist Jan Bures said.
The meeting of the CSSD programme priorities does not harm ANO very much because a part of its voters were left-wing, Bures told Tyden.
It is nevertheless true that ANO promised a massive investment in transport infrastructure and the Transport Ministry budget will get 12 billion crowns more next year, the weekly writes.
Babis has been ardently fighting for the electronic register of sales these days, although ANO did not mention it in its programme, while the CSSD has been talking about it more than ten years, Tyden writes.
“The media image is much more important for ANO and so it has limited itself to promoting drafts of ‘flagship’ laws so that they have something to sell. The rest is marginal for it,” political scientist Kamil Svec said.
Tyden writes that the CSSD priorities that have been approved by the government and sometimes even the parliament include the abolition of the patients’ fees for a doctor’s prescription and for visiting a doctor and the abolition of the second pillar of the pension system, which had all been introduced by the previous right-wing governments.
Despite Babis’s disapproval, the CSSD pushed through an increase in health insurance payments paid by the state for pensioners, children and students. An increase in the salaries of employers working within the public sector was agreed on, although Babis originally proposed that these salaries remain unchanged, the weekly writes.
The minimum wage was increased, an earlier retirement for miners approved, as well as further lowering of taxes for parents of two or three children and the reintroduction of the childbirth bonus paid to parents, which were all CSSD priorities.
The CSSD priorities are met, unless the business interests of the billionaire Babis are at stake, Tyden writes.
Former CSSD prime minister Jiri Paroubek called himself a bulldozer and he really made a lot of noise when he was pushing through his visions, but the inconspicuous Sobotka is much more successful in dominating the political scene, Tyden writes.
Sobotka said the present state only reflects the way, in which the coalition agreement was written. “We really pushed through many of our programme priorities. The Social Democrats were well prepared for the initial negotiations,” he said.
Sobotka’s advantage was that both Babis and KDU-CSL chairman Pavel Belobradek were newcomers to top politics, Tyden writes.
Belobradek admitted this to Tyden, but he said the KDU-CSL had the big advantage over ANO that it could rely on its programme that was a result of the party’s long development.
Babis founded ANO in 2011. The KDU-CSL returned to the Chamber of Deputies in late 2013, after it had failed to defend its parliamentary seats in 2010.
($1=23.856 crowns)