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Minority gov’t of Andrej Babiš approves its policy statement

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Prague, Dec 18 (CTK) – The new Czech minority government of the ANO movement on Monday approved its policy statement and entrusted Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) with leading negotiations with the other parties about possible support for its rule.

Babis told journalists that the policy statement was sent to the leaders of the eight parties in parliament.

“We expect them to let us know whether they are willing to discuss about toleration of the government under some additional conditions,” Babis said.

The talks with the other parties will start on Tuesday.

None of the eight parties have so far promised to support Babis’s government in the confidence vote that the lower house of Czech parliament will take in it on January 10. The Communists (KSCM) and the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) said they might tolerate the cabinet if their priorities were pushed through.

Babis said previously he would not rule the country with extremists, but he joined forces with the KSCM and the SPD in recent key votes in parliament.

The anti-immigrant SPD wants the Czech Republic to leave the European Union, the Communists want it to leave NATO.

The other parties said they do not want to support a cabinet headed by Babis who was prosecuted over a suspected EU subsidy fraud.

The 32-page policy statement, which the government released on its website, plans to simplify the payment of taxes, lower the threat of terrorism and have intelligible foreign policy based on the memberships of NATO and the EU and focusing on the promoting of Czech interests.

The resettlement of refugees must be decided by individual EU member states, the document says.

The new government also wants to introduce changes in pensions, set rules for the rise in minimum wages. It wants to make space for broader competition of health insurance companies, but it says all major steps taken in health care would be consulted with the opposition.

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