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STAN ready to discuss support for next gov’t

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Prague, Feb 15 (CTK) – The Mayors and Independents (STAN) may negotiate with the ANO movement about possible support for the next Czech government in order to prevent the extremist Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) and Communists (KSCM) from taking part in power, the STAN national committee decided on Thursday.

The STAN may launch talks about the conditions under which it would support the next government, its head Petr Gazdik told journalists, adding that the main conditions are the pro-Western focus of the country, agreement on the government programme, no cooperation with extremists and no participation of prosecuted politicians in the cabinet.

Until now, the centrist STAN movement rejected any form of support for a government of ANO. The STAN is the smallest party in the Chamber of Deputies, having only six MPs in the 200-seat house of parliament.

STAN MPs’ head Jan Farsky said the movement had to choose one of the two bad solutions because ANO seems to be forced to cooperate with extremists due to the affairs of its leader Andrej Babis, now prime minister in resignation. “In our effort to prevent the SPD and the KSCM from participating in the government, we will launch the negotiations in which we were previously rejected by ANO,” Farsky said.

After ANO clearly won the general election last October, Babis formed a minority government, also because none of the other parties accepted him as prime minister due to his criminal prosecution over a suspected EU subsidy fraud concerning his Capi hnizdo conference centre and farm.

ANO’s minority government now rules in resignation since it did not win the Chamber’s support in January. Babis started negotiating with other parties about his possible next government. The KSCM and right-wing populist SPD seem the most ready to support Babis’s government. Babis said previously he would prefer an alliance with his former government partners, the Social Democrats (CSSD) and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL).

Gazdik said the form of the possible support for ANO’s government would depend on how many conditions would be met. “If all the conditions are met, it is apparent that we might take part in the government. If some are not met, the extent of the support would be decided. There are more possibilities of how to support the possible government,” he said.

The STAN would like a round-table discussion of the democratic parties represented in the Chamber to be held next week, Gazdik said, referring to the Civic Democrats (ODS), the Pirates, the CSSD, the KDU-CSL and TOP 09.

ANO has 78 MPs in the Chamber, the ODS has 25 MPs, the Pirates 22, the SPD 22, the KSCM 15, the CSSD 15, the KDU-CSL 10, TOP 09 7 and the STAN 6.

Gazdik said the STAN would like to reach agreement on what concessions are acceptable in order to not let the extremists get into power. The aim is to “form a force which cannot be easily rejected unlike the movements or parties that enter the talks,” he added.

Farsky said he hopes that the result of the discussion of democratic parties might make an impression also on some ANO MPs who certainly feel uncomfortable when they defend their prosecuted leader. He said the STAN does not challenge the right of the election winner to choose the prime minister.

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