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Pirates want debate on ANO’s exclusion from MPs’ committees

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Prague, Nov 14 (CTK) – The Czech Pirates have sent a letter to the deputies’ groups of all parties in parliament, presenting their proposal for a proportional division of the posts of heads of lower house committees among all parties except for ANO, which is forming a minority government, they told media on Tuesday.

ANO chairman Andrej Babis has dismissed the Pirates’ proposal.

On Sunday, the Pirates said they want a debate to be launched on the possibility of all committees in the new Chamber of Deputies being headed by the opposition, except for the organisational committee whose leadership obligatorily goes to the lower house chairperson.

Other parties have not backed the Pirates’ proposal, however.

“The proposal submitted by [the Pirate chairman Ivan] Bartos is illogical because there is the law on the Chamber of Deputies’ order of procedure including the rules [of allotting seats to parties based on election results]. I don’t understand why the Pirates are doing it and why they did not admit, not even for a single second, the possibility of their participation in the new government,” Babis, the probable new prime minister, told CTK.

He said ANO had expected the Pirates to support it [as a government-forming party] and to promote transparency and fight corruption together with ANO.

“Instead of discussing a programme, they are squabbling over the [personnel filling of] committees. I am not following this,” Babis said.

According to the Pirates, Civic Democrat (ODS) nominees should head four committees, the Pirates and the Freedom and Democracy (SPD) movement three committees each, the Communists (KSCM) and the Social Democrats (CSSD) two committees each, and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), TOP 09 and the Mayors and Independents (STAN) one committee each.

The organisational committee would be headed by Radek Vondracek, whom the October election-winning ANO movement nominated for the post of lower house chairman and whose candidacy the Pirates support.

“None of the parties in parliament should be omitted, as opposed to ANO’s alternative proposal that leaves two parties – TOP 09 and STAN – without a post of a committee head,” the Pirates wrote in a press release.

The Pirates seek leadership of three committees out of five acceptable for them.

Pirate chairman Ivan Bartos would like to head the security committee, “whose main tasks are the supervision of the political independence of the police and the courage to investigate corruption affairs of those in power, who have been untouchable so far,” the Pirates wrote.

If Bartos were not elected security committee chairman, the Pirates would nominate him for head of the committee for public administration and regional development.

They want to nominate Ondrej Profant for head of the subcommittee for public administration and e-Government.

The Pirates want their lawmaker Dana Balcarova to head the committee for environment protection, Lukas Barton to head the committee for science, education, culture, youth and sports, and Mikulas Peksa to head the committee for European affairs.

Bartos said the Pirates want the lower house’s leadership to include competent and independent people who are experienced in and have knowledge of the respective branches they are in charge of.

The Pirates’ priority is a quick constituting of the Chamber of Deputies and filling of its bodies so that they can play their role of a brake and a counterweight in the democratic system.

Billionaire Andrej Babis’s ANO movement won the October 20-21 general election with almost 30 percent of the vote, far ahead of the other eight parties that also crossed the 5-percent threshold. Finishing third, the Pirates entered the lower house for the first time.

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