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Respekt: ANO head Babiš prepares his future government

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Prague, Oct 24 (CTK) – Czech Finance Minister and ANO head Andrej Babis, who won the recent regional elections, is sure of his victory in the 2017 general election and is already preparing his cabinet, while PM Bohuslav Sobotka seems to be in a heavy defensive, weekly Respekt out yesterday writes.
Billionaire businessman Babis is set to win the general election and beat his major government rival, Sobotka’s Social Democratic Party (CSSD), which could catapult him to the top of political power, Respekt writes.
Babis wants to follow the examaple of Milos Zeman’s campaigning in the 1990s and hold meetings with voters right in the streets. For this purpose he has bought a white lorry fitted with a special platform from which he will address people, Respekt writes.
Babis also pays attention to the Chamber of Deputies. ANO deputy group head Jaroslav Faltynek is to review ANO lawmakers’ activity in the lower house of parliament and those who will gain the lowest number of plus points will be stripped of the opportunity to enter the next Chamber of Deputies, Respekt writes.
However, Babis cannot be sure of anything even though he seems to be a clear favourite. In some regions, where he won, other parties formed coalitions against him, it writes.
To avert this, Babis wants to win more than 28 percent of the vote which would allow ANO to participate in the next government, Respekt writes.
It writes that this is what Sobotka and the CSSD also want to do, but they have not yet gone so far in their considerations as Babis.
According to sources from the CSSD headquarters, Sobotka did not expect the loss of 6 percent against the winning ANO in the regional elections. He finds it difficult to reconcile himself to the fact that the successes his party scored in the government, the tradition, the party programme, his personal diligence and people’s dislike of Babis’s coarse behaviour of which they told him during the election campaign did not secure better results for the CSSD, Respekt writes.
Political analysts say the CSSD is decades ahead of ANO in the creation of its programme and its idea of the country’s heading is much more comprehensible and carefully formulated than ANO’s, but it is unable to communicate this in a simple and comprehensible way, Respekt writes.
“We are faced with an entirely new type of rival. It is not possible to proceed along the right-left line, it is not possible to compete in ideas where there are none on the other side. We are faced with a leader who conducts his campaign by publicly calling his government colleagues parasites,” CSSD deputy group head Roman Sklenak said, Respekt writes.
It writes that unlike Sobotka, Babis is always available for comment, which was shown during the recent conflict over Culture Minister Daniel Herman’s meeting the Dalai Lama of Tibet, which top politicians including Sobotka denounced in a letter to China.
Babis took an opposite stance even though Tibetans’ human rights were not his theme until then, Respekt writes.
It writes that the foreign political agenda of the two election rivals is rather unclear, but its presence in the prime minister’s work is greater and greater in the current complicated world.
Until recently, Sobotka acted as a pro-Western and pro-European politician who bases his policy on the values coined by former president Vaclav Havel, Respekt writes.
It writes that last week, when he signed the above letter to Chinese leaders, he practically dissociated himself from these values. It is unclear what made Sobotka sign the letter and what his foreign political goals are.
Babis says he is a pro-European politician who sees the Czech Republic’s future in the Western structures, yet it is difficult to decipher his relation to the European Union because he adapts his stances to the type of the audiences, Respekt writes.
Sometimes he says the EU is an important institution, while on other occasions he almost damns it, Respekt writes and adds that on the whole, Babis always sees all problems through the economic prism.
It writes that even though Babis now seems to be in a better position than Sobotka, sociologists warn that it is not possible to predict the result of the election which will only be held in one year during which a lot of things may happen.

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