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ČSSD insists on gov’t member’s resignation if convicted

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Prague, April 23 (CTK) – The Czech Social Democrats (CSSD) will insist within their government-forming talks with ANO that a member of a possible joint cabinet have to resign if convicted, even if the verdict were not definitive, CSSD head Jan Hamacek told CTK on Monday.

He said he cannot imagine the CSSD closing the talks without this issue being settled.

Earlier on Monday, ANO chairman and probable next prime minister Andrej Babis once again rejected this demand, which the CSSD raised of late. He said he can see no reason for such a provision.

He said the repeated references to him as a prosecuted person irritate him.

A couple of months ago, the police accused Babis of fraudulent drawing an EU subsidy by a company linked to Agrofert, a giant chemical, food, agriculture and media holding he previously owned before transferring it to a trust fund.

Babis calls his prosecution an expedient step initiated by his opponents.

Hamacek confirmed for CTK that the two parties’ negotiators will meet on Wednesday for the first time.

“The CSSD will insist on any member of the cabinet being bound to resign if convicted, even if the verdict could still be appealed. I cannot imagine our closing the negotiations without settling this problem,” Hamacek said.

His view has been supported by other CSSD officials, including deputy chairman Roman Onderka and the deputies’ group chairman Jan Chvojka.

If a conviction were not a reason for a cabinet member to resign, there seems to be nothing else to justify the CSSD’s possible forming a cabinet with ANO in the eyes of CSSD members and voters, Onderka said.

He said Babis’s rejection of the CSSD’s demand might complicate the negotiations.

Hamacek said on Twitter that the two parties previously reached consensus on the programme and the division of ministerial posts, but three points are still left unsettled.

One of them is the resignation of a convicted member of the cabinet. The second one is a safeguard to prevent ANO and the CSSD from using other allies to outvote each other in parliament, Hamacek wrote.

Third, the CSSD wants to prevent ANO’s voting together with the far-right anti-EU Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) in parliament.

“We want a proof instead of promises,” Hamacek wrote, probably hinting at the CSSD’s proposal that ANO help sack SPD representatives from high parliamentary posts.

The vacated posts will not be designated for CSSD deputies, Hamacek emphasised.

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