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KSČM ready to talk about gov’t cooperation with Okamura, Babiš

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Lany, Central Bohemia, April 11 (CTK) – The Communists (KSCM) are prepared to negotiate with the ANO movement of Andrej Babis and the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) movement of Tomio Okamura about government cooperation, their leader Vojtech Filip said after talks with Czech President Milos Zeman on Wednesday.

“We promised to take part in the negotiations,” Filip told journalists, adding that the result of the negotiations with Babis and Okamura is open.

“Our position that the KSCM will not enter the cabinet remains unchanged,” Filip said.

On April 5, the negotiations about a minority government of ANO and the Social Democrats tolerated by the KSCM foundered. On Tuesday, Zeman recommended to Babis to start negotiating with the KSCM and the SPD.

Filip said Zeman confirmed that he plans to appoint Babis as prime minister for the second time.

Zeman appointed Babis prime minister last December, but Babis’s minority cabinet did not win the parliament’s confidence in January as only ANO MPs supported it in the vote. Zeman assigned Babis with leading talks about forming another government. ANO started negotiating with other parties and eventually planned to ally with the CSSD. However, the Social Democrats insisted that the prosecuted Babis either stay outside the government or that the post of interior minister go to them, which ANO rejected. Babis is suspected of an EU subsidy fraud.

Filip said the KSCM would negotiate with ANO and the SPD provided that agreement on programme points which the KSCM and ANO made within the talks on a possible alliance of ANO and the CSSD would be confirmed.

He said the referendum bill, gradual increase in the minimum wage and the level of pensions are among the Communist priorities.

Filip said the KSCM disagrees with Zeman on the participation of Czech troops in foreign missions. The Communists want to primarily focus on security affairs in the Czech Republic, while Zeman promotes Czech participation in the military missions because he believes that the threat of Islamic radicals concerns the country’s security, Filip said.

Zeman talked with Filip and KSCM MP Alexander Cerny at the presidential chateau in Lany on Wednesday. He is to meet SPD leader Okamura on Thursday afternoon. Next week, Zeman is to meet other political leaders – Petr Fiala (Civic Democrats, ODS), Pavel Belobradek (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) and Ivan Bartos (Pirates).

Babis wants to discuss the planned government cooperation with the KSCM and the SPD with ANO’s broad leadership. A part of ANO parliament members said they were against cooperation with the SPD.

Okamura’s anti-EU, anti-immigrant movement is considered far-right by some politicians.

The ODS and other opposition parties claim that the ANO, the KSCM and the SPD have already formed a pact in the lower house of parliament and joined forces in key voters.

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