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Babiš: Opposition’s Democratic Bloc is defence of old system

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Prague, Nov 15 (CTK) – The formation of the Democratic Bloc by four Czech right-wing and centrist parties in the Chamber of Deputies is an effort to defend the system of traditional parties, ANO leader Andrej Babis told CTK in reaction to the Bloc’s creation on Wednesday.

“This again confirms that the system that has been functioning here (in the Czech Republic) is defending itself and is not going to give up easily,” Babis said.

The Civic Democrats (ODS), TOP 09, the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) and the Mayors and Independents (STAN) on Wednesday formed the Democratic Bloc ahead of the lower house constituent session that will be held next week.

The four above parties have 48 seats in the house, while the ANO movement which won the recent elections has 78 seats. The opposition Social Democrats (CSSD, 15 seats) and Pirates (22 seats) were welcomed to the Bloc, but did not join it.

Babis said the traditional parties acted in a destructive way in the Chamber of Deputies and lied incredibly. He said these parties backed former ODS prime minister Mirek Topolanek who is “a symbol of favouritism” to run for Czech president.

ODS leader Petr Fiala criticised ANO for acting in an non-transparent and misleading way when negotiating with other parties.

Babis dismissed this. He said the ANO minority government offered to include the priorities of the other parties into its programme.

Babis has not gained enough support for his planned minority cabinet as only the Communists (KSCM, 15 seats) said they might tolerate it under certain conditions.

Babis said he did not mind if the four parties proceed jointly. He said he hoped they would not plan blocking the lower house’s operation anymore.

The Democratic Bloc said on Wednesday it would not support ANO MP Radek Vondracek for lower house chairman. However, Fiala withdrew his candidacy for the post because he considered it pointless as Vondracek won support from ANO, the KSCM, Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD, 22 seats) and the Pirates in the 200-seat house.

The Bloc said it wanted two seats of lower house deputy chairpersons and the posts of heads of seven lower house committees.

ANO lower house group’s head Jaroslav Faltynek said ANO offered the posts of heads of six lower house committees to the Bloc. If the posts were to be distributed proportionally, the Bloc would have four committee heads only, he added.

The Bloc should have one lower house head, he said.

Faltynek said the demands of the Bloc did not respect the election results and had nothing to do with democracy. The bloc was a group led by TOP 09 chairman Miroslav Kalousek, he said.

Faltynek welcomed it that Fiala gave up his candidacy for lower house chairman.

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