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ČSSD head: Social Democrats, ANO may agree on cabinet

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Prague, March 21 (CTK) – There is the will to find agreement on the part of both Prime Minister Andrej Babis’s ANO and the Czech Social Democrats (CSSD), Social Democrat leader Jan Hamacek said after their representatives’ talks about taxes and finances, which may result in the creation of a new government, on Wednesday.

Personnel issues are not yet being dealt with and participants in the experts talks need not be necessarily ministers, Hamacek said.

On Friday Social Democrat expert teams will meet to sum up the moot points and the talks will be pushed onto the political level, he added.

Hamacek said in some spheres agreement had been found fairly quickly.

However, he declined to elaborate, only admitting that there were the biggest discrepancies in the sphere of taxes and finances between the two negotiating parties.

“We have agreed not to comment on specifically the shifts, but it is true that there is a big will to look for agreement,” Hamacek said.

Disputes are also in sphere of pensions and the discussion of the educational sector also continues, he added.

ANO and the CSSD are conducting talks on the creation of a minority government which is to gain confidence in the Chamber of Deputies thanks to Communist votes.

If the two negotiating teams find agreement, the coalition is yet to be approved by the Social Democrat congress in early April and most probably by the party’s internal referendum.

There is a consensus between ANO and the CSSD in the sphere of health, Health Minister Adam Vojtech (ANO) said after the talks of the relevant teams.

ANO and the CSSD agree on most spheres, Deputy Prime Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) said, pointing out the expert talks.

The biggest discrepancies are in the social policy and taxes, he added.

Finance Minister Alena Schillerova (ANO) said ANO rejected any rise in taxes, while the Social Democrats would like to have progressive income tax enacted and to introduce sector taxes.

Brabec said ANO and the CSSD had created 16 expert teams, 13 of which had already met.

Next week, when trilateral talks about the government programme between ANO, the CSSD and the Communists are to start, the latter’s ideas should be taken into account, Brabec said.

Agreement was found in agriculture among all the three parties, ANO first deputy chairman Jaroslav Faltynek said.

All of them want to continue with state support for farmers, encourage the animal husbandry and prevent the depopulation in the country, he added.

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