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FinMin Babiš, President Zeman to meet next week

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Prague, April 27 (CTK) – Czech Finance Minister and ANO movement head Andrej Babis will have a meeting with President Milos Zeman in the days to come, Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek told CTK today, confirming the information of and adding that the meeting has been initiated by Babis.

Ovcacek said the meeting will take place “in the nearest future,” by which, however, he does not mean today or Friday.

ANO spokeswoman Lucie Kubovicova said the meeting will be held next week. Its date is yet to be set.

Babis, a billionaire whose ANO comfortably leads party popularity polls six months before the general election, has asked for a meeting with Zeman now that tension has escalated in the government coalition of the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL).

Earlier today, Babis told CTK that he is convinced that Prime Minister and CSSD chairman Bohuslav Sobotka is creating an atmosphere to enable him to sack Babis and eliminate him as a political rival.

Babis was reacting to a media report about an analysis completed by Sobotka’s aides and casting doubts on the way Babis acquired the Agrofert Holding, which he owned until recently.

Zeman and Babis stand politically close to each other.

Zeman has repeatedly supported Babis on various occasions such as his opposition to the new conflict of interest law known as Anti-Babis or Lex Babis. First, Zeman vetoed the bill. After the parliament overrode his veto, he challenged the law at the Constitutional Court.

Zeman also backed Babis in the case of the suspicious subsidies drawn by his Stork Nest company.

He often praised Babis’s performance as deputy PM and finance minister.

Babis and Zeman had a bilateral meeting at Prague Castle in mid-March, when the government coalition was rocked by a serious rift over the lower house’s call on Babis to refute serious suspicions of huge tax evasion on his part.

Ovcacek then said Babis and Zeman had agreed on their meeting before the controversy broke out.


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