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ANO MPs for talks on gov’t with ČSSD supported by KSČM

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Prague, March 17 (CTK) – The ANO deputy group agrees with talks on a Czech minority government with the Social Democrats (CSSD) that would be supported by the Communists (KSCM), PM and ANO chairman Babis said after the deputy group’s meeting on Saturday.

Three ANO deputies raised objections to it, but they would remain loyal, Babis added.

ANO deputy chairman and deputy group head Jaroslav Faltynek told reporters that a deal on the government might be struck at the end of April in an ideal case.

“Three deputies said they had a problem with this, but that they would show solidarity and if it were agreed, they would support the deal,” Babis said.

Babis’s minority government lost a confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament, in January and resigned, but it continues ruling pending the establishment of Babis’s new cabinet. President Milos Zeman assigned Babis with the second try to form a government.

Babis also told reporters on Saturday that the MPs had not discussed the number of ministerial posts that the CSSD might get.

However, some ANO leadership members said before the meeting that the CSSD could have maximally four ministries, including head of one of the power sectors.

Babis said ANO must first clarify the position on a referendum on the departure from the EU. Both ANO and CSSD Jan Hamacek reject the possibility of such a referendum. However, CSSD first deputy chairman Jiri Zimola would not mind it.

Babis reiterated that ANO would lead talks exclusively with the Social Democrats and would not negotiate with the ultra-right anti-EU Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) for the time being.

“The deputy group took a clear stance on this. It is unacceptable to us to comply with (SPD chairman Tomio) Okamura’s demand, which means to enable voting on these international issues in a referendum,” Faltynek told reporters, adding that this is an insurmountable condition.

ANO deputy chairman Richard Brabec told reporters that the ANO and CSSD expert teams might meet next week.

Babis appreciated Saturday’s debate, lasting seven hours. He said he would like to repeat similar meetings.

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