Prague, May 4 (CTK) – Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) could resolve the current government crisis if he recognised his responsibility and if he prioritised the country’s stability, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said on Thursday.
Talking to journalists after his meeting with President Milos Zeman, Sobotka said the CSSD is ready to quickly reach agreement on the coalition government’s restoration with ANO and the third partner, the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), as well as on the prime minister.
“It would suffice if Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Andrej Babis gave priority to the interest and stability of the Czech Republic over his desire to keep the post of finance minister. We would then be able to very quickly reach agreement on the reconstruction of the coalition government, we would be able to quickly reach agreement on who will lead the government,” Sobotka said.
The current government is comprised of the CSSD, ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL).
Sobotka said the new government would lead the country until the regular October 20-21 general election and it should be formed based on the incumbent coalition.
“Social Democrats prefer an agreement within the current coalition, but on the condition that Andrej Babis is not a member of such a government,” Sobotka said.
He said Babis was the major reason for the government’s resignation.
Sobotka said he wanted to resolve the problem of “a minister burdened with scandals and a minister burdened with a serious conflict of interest.”
Sobotka said if he only dismissed Babis, who is ANO’s chairman, this would make the government’s functioning impossible.
Sobotka would not comment on the way Zeman welcomed him at Prague Castle, the presidential seat.
“I think it is unnecessary to comment on this. It would only divert attention from the essence of the matter. The essence does not rest in whether a ceremony which I did not expect was prepared. The essence of the problem is that we have a deputy prime minister burdened with scandals,” Sobotka said.
Babis is blamed for not having sufficiently explain his property’s origin and financial transactions.
The second richest man in the country, Babis owned Agrofert holding which he transferred to trustee funds in February under a new conflict of interest law.
Zeman had a room prepared at Prague Castle as if he was to be handed Sobotka’s resignation. However, Sobotka’s team announced in the media this morning that Zeman and Sobotka will only discuss the current situation and that the resignation will be tendered later in May after Zeman returns from China.
In the presence of journalists, Zeman called on Sobotka to make a statement. Sobotka said he does not know what he should talk about. Zeman made a speech as if he had taken over the resignation.