Friday, 21 September 2018

Opposition warns of Babiš's cabinet, Communists hail it

ČTK |
12 July 2018

Prague, July 12 (CTK) - The government of Andrej Babis (ANO) supported by the Communists has opened the door to a semi-presidential system and "Babis's democracy" in the Czech Republic, representatives of the centre-right opposition parties told reporters after the confidence vote on Wednesday.

The minority government of Babis's ANO and the Social Democrats (CSSD) won confidence of the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament, thanks to the votes of the Communists (KSCM).

Part of the opposition is of the view that the Czech Republic existing since 1993 thereby ended.

The cabinet was supported by 105 MPs in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies, while 91 MPs for the Civic Democrats (ODS), Pirates, Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), TOP 09 and Mayors and Independents (STAN) voted against it.

These parties promised to be a hard opposition.

On the other and, KSCM chairman Vojtech Filip said the six-month political crisis had ended by the vote of confidence in Babis's government. This is a positive piece of news both for citizens and for the EU and financial markets, he said.

ODS chairman Petr Fiala said a semi-Communist government was formed in the Chamber of Deputies that had no clear programme goals and that would not move the Czech Republic elsewhere.

The ODS will be a tough and principled opposition, he added.

He pointed out that the Communists had gained a share in power for the first time since the collapse of the communist regime in 1989.

Filip said the Communists had supported the government for programme reasons and would only tolerate it in the future. They are prepared to submit their own bills, he added.

The Czech Republic, established in 1993 after Czechoslovakia's split, ended by voting confidence in the ANO-CSSD government and now it will be replaced by "Babis's strange leadership democracy," TOP 09 honorary chairman Karel Schwarzenberg said.

PM Babis will become an unlimited leader thanks to his economic and political influence and he will be ruling the country like his firm, he added.

The power of Russia has risen since the Communists along with President Milos Zeman will be "Putin's fifth column," TOP 09 deputy group head Miroslav Kalousek said.

Kalousek called the power shift toward the KSCM very dangerous. TOP 09 will be in opposition, but it will be willing to support points accommodating to the Western allies, he added.

KDU-CSL chairman Pavel Belobradek reiterated that the conditions for confidence had not been met and this is why his party had not supported Babis's second cabinet dependent of the Communists. However, Belobradek called on the public not to lose hope and patience.

Christian Democrat deputy group head Jan Bartosek said ANO and the CSSD bore full responsibility for the Communist ruling. Each deputy voting for the government, pushed the Czech Republic eastwards, towards Russia, he said, adding that he expected a fight for the freedom of public media and the Senate now.

STAN chairman Petr Gazdik called the establishment of the government with the parliament's confidence the end of instability, but he criticised the Communists' support.

The Czech Republic has set out on the path of a semi-presidential system because of President Milos Zeman's frequent interventions, which is at variance with the constitution, Gazdik said. STAN plans to be a constructive opposition, he added.

Pirate chairman Jakub Michalek tweeted that instead of a dreams, the Babis government would cause the Czech Republic's falling behind.

"The only one to profit from this will be Agrofert and its todies. The Czech Republic will lose three years that it could devote to education, innovations and growth based on freedom," Michalek wrote, hinting at the giant agricultural, food, chemical and media holding, which billionaire businessman Babis owned until last year when he transferred it to trust funds to avoid conflict of interest.

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