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Bělobrádek: KDU-ČSL preparing for opposition role

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Prague, Oct 23 (CTK) – The Czech Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) are not considering joining the new cabinet to emerge from last weekend’s elections, and they are preparing for the opposition role, their head Pavel Belobradek said on Monday, ruling out their alliance with the election-winning ANO leader Andrej Babis.

ANO, which comfortably won the October 20-21 election far ahead of all rivals, and President Milos Zeman insist on Babis’s nomination for the new prime minister, Belobradek told journalists.

Several weeks ago, the police levelled accusations against billinaire Babis on suspicion of a subsidy fraud involving his Stork Nest company.

“The issue is not a topic for discussion, no coalition has been negotiated [by the KDU-CSL]. We are preparing for the opposition role, because there are parties that have received a much stronger mandate from voters,” Belobradek said.

A meeting between the KDU-CSL leaders and ANO on Monday will only focus on the new Chamber of Deputies setup, the filling of seats in the lower house leadership and the establishment of lower house committees, Belobradek said.

Another reason for the KDU-CSL to switch to opposition is the person of the supposed new prime minister, he said.

“In a situation where the president and the ANO movement declare that Babis should be the prime minister, we insist on the conditions we have set,” Belobradek said.

Before the elections, the KDU-CSL said it would not join or support a government with prosecuted persons in it.

Belobradek also ruled out the KDU-CSL’s joining a coalition of all parties against ANO.

“It would be a coalition relying on radical or extremist parties,” he said, evidently alluding to the Communists (KSCM) and the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) movement, a populist newcomer to the new parliament.

Belobradek confirmed his intention to offer his resignation as KDU-CSL chairman at a KDU-CSL national conference on Friday in reaction to the party’s election defeat, which, however, was not as hard as that of other traditional parties.

The KDU-CSL, which is a junior partner in the outgoing government, gained 5.8 percent of the vote, as a result of which its number of seats in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies has decreased to 10 from previous 14.

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