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ČSSD leader: Babiš seeks only his own profit in talks on gov’t

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Hradec Kralove, East Bohemia, April 7 (CTK) – The ANO movement sought its own maximum profit rather than a compromise in the talks about a possible Czech government and it preferred the interests of its leader Andrej Babis to those of the country, CSSD chairman Jan Hamacek told his party’s congress on Saturday.

The CSSD congress elected Hamacek in February and assigned him to negotiate with ANO about a possible coalition government. On Thursday, Hamacek declared that the negotiations failed.

He told the congress that he fulfilled his task.

Hamacek said ANO did not grasp that it is a problem for the CSSD that the criminally prosecuted Babis would be prime minister. “We did not reach agreement because ANO refused our demand for the Interior Ministry,” he said, adding that the CSSD wanted to control this ministry as a guarantee that Babis would not try to influence his own prosecution.

Hamacek said ANO is a movement controlled by a single man and Babis will sacrifice anything to remain prime minister.

Babis was appointed prime minister last December, but his minority cabinet did not win the parliament’s confidence in January. He has been negotiating with the CSSD about a government alliance that would be backed by the Communists (KSCM). Last autumn, the billionaire Babis was accused of a EU subsidy fraud concerning the Stork Nest farm and countryside conference centre.

Hamacek said the CSSD negotiators accepted a number of compromises and they maybe went too far when they said they may tolerate the prosecuted Babis as prime minister provided that he promises he would resign if he is sentenced by court.

“We felt responsible for the stability of the Czech Republic. we know that the country needs a stable government with confidence (from parliament). Unlike the other parties, we tried to negotiate,” Hamacek said.

Though the negotiations failed, ANO is now aware that it can achieve nothing with Social Democrats by aggressiveness. “Nobody will deal with us arrogantly and aggressively,” he said.

CSSD first deputy chairman Jiri Zimola said ANO did not use the opportunity to take a stance on Babis’s prosecution. “The word compromise has no place in the vocabulary of Andrej Babis,” he said.

Zimola said the negotiations proved that Babis is not interested in any cooperation.

“Even before we first sat at one table, we faced his attacks. He treated us like kids, ridiculed us and sent messages that our demands are too much,” Zimola said.

Hamacek and Zimola pointed out that the CSSD team managed to negotiate a lot of programme points with ANO. Josef Stredula, leader of the biggest Czech trade union association who was a guest to the congress, appreciated this, too.

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