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ANO to discuss Babiš’s proposal to sack Ondráček

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Zlin, South Moravia/Prague, March 5 (CTK) – The ANO MPs will talk about the proposal to sack Communist (KSCM) deputy Zdenek Ondracek as head of the lower house commission for the General Inspection of Security Corps (GIBS) on Tuesday, ANO leader Andrej Babis told journalists on Monday.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Babis wrote on Facebook he would propose Ondracek’s dismissal.

Babis said on Monday his proposal was influenced by the strong wave of public protests. “The situation was of course influenced by it, our supporters do not like it either,” he said.

He said the ANO deputies’ group was divided on Ondracek and he did not want to speculate about the outcome.

Ondracek raised controversies as a former member of the former communist riot police intervening against anti-communist demonstrations against the then regime in 1989. He failed to be elected chairman of the GIBS commission last year, but eventually succeeded in winning the post last week. Street protests against Ondracek’s election are planned in a dozen of Czech towns this evening.

Babis said he would talk about Ondracek with Communist leader Vojtech Filip. He said he had repeatedly called on the KSCM to propose a different candidate for the post.

Filip said he would not comment on the issue before discussing it with Babis. He said the KSCM deputies’ group will debate the Ondracek affair at its meeting on Tuesday.

The issue is crucial for whether the KSCM will support the next cabinet Babis, Filip emphasised.

ANO-KSCM negotiations have been underway on the incorporation of some of the KSCM’s priorities in the policy statement of the government Babis is forming now that his first cabinet lost a confidence vote in parliament. The KSCM previously said it is ready to tolerate Babis’s minority cabinet if it vows to push through some of the KSCM’s programme goals.

According to an agreement reached by the parties in parliament, the post of head of the commission supervising the GIBS goes to the KSCM.

Babis admitted that Ondracek was elected also thanks to votes from ANO deputies, but he said it were not only their votes that made it possible.

The opposition Mayors and Independents (STAN) said Babis should stop passing the back and bear his responsibility because it was ANO that enabled Ondracek’s election. Other politicians shared this view.

“Andrej Babis could have recommended that ANO deputies not vote in support of Ondracek’s election,” Social Democrat (CSSD) new chairman Jan Hamacek said on Twitter.

Hamacek said Babis actually promoted Ondracek’s election and made a U-turn when he saw that the public opinion is against it.

Civic Democrat (ODS) leader Petr Fiala tweeted that it was ANO that elected Ondracek.

Pirates chairman Ivan Bartos raised objections to Babis criticising the absence of some opposition MPs from the vote. He pointed out that Babis himself had not taken part in the election. “Babis thereby gave up his responsibility, he himself lowered the quorum and by his absence, he actually supported Ondracek, while now he dares to blame the others,” Bartos wrote.

He also dismissed Babis’s statement that all political parties had agreed on the GIBS commission to be headed by a Communist. “This is not the case. It was Faltynek’s directive decision as ANO allocated the GIBS commission exactly to the KSCM,” Bartos said, referring to ANO deputy group head Jaroslav Faltynek and the agreement of ANO, the KSCM and the populist anti-EU Freedom and Direct Democracy SPD.

The opposition repeatedly tried to prevent Ondracek from being elected in the past few months.

Apart from his own party, the candidacy of Ondracek was very probably supported by votes from the SPD and ANO in the secret vote as the other parties were openly against it.

Communist spokeswoman Helena Grofova told CTK that the KSCM would comment on the situation after its meeting on Tuesday.

Last week, Ondracek said he does not regret that he was a police officer under the Communist regime and he would not change any of the decisions he made as a policeman. This caused outrage among the right-wing opposition and a part of the public as well.

Babis said on Monday he called on Ondracek to consider apologising.

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