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Zeman: Babiš to have more time for gov’t formation

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Prague, Jan 27 (CTK) – Incumbent Czech President Milos Zeman said on Saturday that his re-election as head of state meant that PM in resignation Andrej Babis (ANO) would have enough time for forming his second cabinet.

Zeman defended his post, beating former Science Academy chairman Jiri Drahos in the runoff vote on Saturday.

Zeman said before the presidential election that he would demand the signatures of a majority of MPs, at least 101 in the 200-seat lower house, from Babis in support of his new government, while if he were not re-elected president, he would appoint Babis PM and his second government without this condition.

“Since I was re-elected, I cannot see a reason why I should exert pressure on Andrej Babis with a too short deadline for the appointment of his government,” Zeman said, being asked whether his election victory means that will not hurry up with the appointment of Babis for the second try to form a government.

In reaction to Zeman’s statement, Babis said on Saturday that he would have had to hurry up with the government if Zeman had lost the election, but now he would have more time.

Babis also said he was convinced that he would succeed with his second try to form a government.

Babis’s ANO minority government approved its resignation ten days ago as the Chamber of Deputies did not vote confidence in it, and Zeman accepted the resignation. He also entrusted Babis with talks on the formation of a new cabinet.

ANO has launched talks on government cooperation with the other parties in parliament, the Social Democrats (CSSD), Communists (KSCM), Civic Democrats (ODS), Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL).

Babis reminded that the ODS rejected cooperation with ANO, while the KDU-CSL insisted on its condition, saying it cannot join a government with a prosecuted person in it. Babis is prosecuted on suspicion of an EU subsidy fraud.

Babis also reiterated that he would like to resume talks on the next government with the Social Democrats after the election of the CSSD’s new leadership at the February congress.

The Social Democrats have so far refused to join a government with a prosecuted person in it.

Babis repeated that he would not like to be in a government with the anti-EU and anti-immigrant (SPD) and the KSCM. However, he said he was talking with them on the programme as he can see that ANO can push through some of its key points with their aid.

ANO has 78 MPs in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies, so it needs support of at least another 23 MPs. The SPD has 22 MPs, the KSCM and the CSSD 15 each.

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