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ČSSD wants talks on direct presence in gov’t, chairman tells Zeman

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Lany, Central Bohemia, Feb 27 (CTK) – The Czech Social Democrats (CSSD) want to negotiate about their direct participation in the next government with the ANO movement, CSSD chairman Jan Hamacek said after acquainting President Milos Zeman with the CSSD’s intention.

Hamacek and CSSD first deputy head Jiri Zimola met Zeman at the presidential chateau in Lany.

At a meeting with ANO negotiators on Wednesday, the CSSD representatives want to discuss programme issues, not personnel questions, Hamacek said.

The ANO and CSSD leaders will meet for their second talks on forming a new government on Wednesday afternoon.

“We will mainly debate the programme, and we have told this to the president,” Hamacek said, also on behalf of Zimola.

“We also informed the president that the setup the CSSD is pushing for and will negotiate about is that of its direct participation in the government,” Hamacek said.

At a recent congress of the CSSD, Zeman gave a speech advising the CSSD not to seek direct participation in the government of ANO, which won the October 2017 general election.

Hamacek said on Tuesday the congress assigned the CSSD’s new leadership to negotiate about the party’s direct participation in the government.

Hamacek and Zimola acquainted Zeman with several types of programme priorities on which the CSSD insists and which it will present at the upcoming talks with ANO.

The first to be acquainted with the exact wording of the priorities will be ANO chairman Andrej Babis, Hamacek said.

He said the participation in the government by Babis, who faces prosecution over a suspected subsidy fraud, is still a problem for the CSSD, but this is not what the CSSD wants to discuss with ANO on Wednesday.

It is the programme priorities that should be discussed, he said, adding that he expects the two parties’ expert teams to meet in the following days to debate concrete priorities and their acceptability.

Hamacek said he wants to ask Babis, who is prime minister now but his ANO minority government is ruling in resignation because it lost parliament’s vote of confidence in January, about the steps his ministers took recently, such as the sacking of some hospital directors and the pressure exerted on Michal Murin, director of the General Inspection of the Security Corps (GIBS).

“These steps do not arouse my confidence, since this is a government without confidence,” Hamacek said.

In addition, the government explained its decisions too vaguely, he said.

Hamacek said he and Zimola discussed various post-election variants with Zeman and promised to regularly inform him about the current situation.

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