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KDU-ČSL head says ANO leader breaches democratic rules

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Prague, Oct 11 (CTK) – The Czech junior ruling Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) are losing patience with the attitude of their government partner, the ANO movement of Deputy Prime Minister Andrej Babis, to the democratic rules in the Chamber of Deputies, KDU-CSL head Pavel Belobradek said today.

Belobradek, deputy prime minister for science and research, said in the Questions of Vaclav Moravec on public Czech Television (CT) ANO has had two years since the early general election to learn the democratic principles.

Babis rejected the criticism and said both the government coalition partners and the opposition attack ANO.

The ANO movement, established in 2011, entered the Chamber of Deputies in the October 2013 early general election for the first time.

Petr Fiala, chairman of the rightist opposition Civic Democrats (ODS), said Babis uses the same words like Adolf Hitler.

Belobradek was reacting to Babis’s statement that “the traditional political parties” will have to get used to that no regard will be paid for the opposition in the Chamber of Deputies.

Belobradek said his party is not going to accept this.

“Democracy hinders [the pace of work], but it is essential that democracy in its entirety be defended,” Belobradek said.

He said if democracy does not suit Babis and if he does not want to be in coalition with democratic parties, it is up to him to consider leaving politics.

Belobradek said Babis is sending out a bad signal to people when he says the current system is bad, inoperable and slow.

“It is necessary to explain that these things are dangerous in certain ways. Without discussion and democracy and without certain systemic things and procedures that are mulled over and practiced in the long term, this country and democracy as such would be headed for something that we would not wish,” Belobradek said.

Babis disagreed with the criticism. “It is a nonsense. On the contrary, in this election term we have introduced opposition ‘windows’ at every session of the Chamber of Deputies where bills submitted by the opposition are discussed. Unfortunately, the opposition strips itself of this scope with its obstructions,” Babis wrote to CTK.

He dismissed the allegations that his statements are aimed against democracy.

Belobradek said he objects to the ANO proposal to abolish the Question Time in the Chamber of Deputies, to changes in the agreed debates on bills and to the fact that ANO’s government partners, the Social Democrats (CSSD) and the KDU-CSL, are not informed of work on a bill being underway.

“For us, it is important that we do not slacken our effort against this, that we do not allow these things to happen. We discussed this at the (government) coalition council, we clearly came out against this, we said we are losing patience,”Belobradek said.

He said “one must have some amount of patience with the new-comers,” but two years since the latest election have been long enough for ANO to get to know how politics functions, Belobradek said.

“What Andrej Babis said – parliament is a talking shop or something like this and that it is unnecessary and that it hinders [parliament from work] – this is what we have already heard in history and we heard it several times. It was said by Adolf Hitler, for instance,” Fiala said.

“It always starts inconspicuously. Parliamentarism can easily be pulled down,” Fiala said.

Babis wrote to CTK that the “traditional political parties” strike deals in the Chamber of Deputies with one another. The ODS and the other opposition party, TOP 09, do not criticise the government coalition, but only ANO, which also the CSSD and the KDU-CSL do.

“This means that all criticise our movement, mainly because we do not want to strike the deals with them,” Babis added.

Belobradek conceded that the government has “rather overslept” in relation to migration. He said even though the KDU-CSL is responsible neither for the foreign nor interior ministry, it bears political responsibility for it.

He said the government should take an active attitude to dealing with the migrant crisis in the EU.

Babis reacted saying if Belobradek criticises the government for migrant policy while he agreed with it, he should leave the government coalition.


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