The lower house of Parliament decided Friday to lift immunity for the prime minister and his ANO senior party colleague Jaroslav Faltýnek to face criminal charges for the alleged abuse of EU funds in connection with the Stork’s Nest complex. Despite having consistently denied any wrongdoing, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his close associate asked for their immunity to be waived during the heated debate.
The lower house of Parliament has voted to strip Prime Minister Andrej Babis of his parliamentary immunity, opening the way for prosecution. The motion was supported by 111 deputies, 69 deputies of the prime minister's ANO party voted against. Mr. Babis, who is suspected of EU subsidy fraud, has denied any wrongdoing. He told the lower house on Friday that the charges against him had been fabricated by the mafia and political opponents who wanted to remove him from politics. We live in a country where it is possible to commission criminal charges against someone and have them thrown in jail, the prime minister noted.
The prime minister’s claim that it was possible to arrange a criminal
prosecution against someone has elicited a storm of criticism from the
Deputies accused Prime Minister Babis of undermining trust in the judiciary without having any proof to back his claim and said that if he really believed what he said he should sack Justice Minister Robert Pelikan.
They moreover pointed out that after having spent almost four years in government he should consider himself co-responsible for the state of the country.
Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman also issued a strong protest against the prime minister’s claim saying that if the prime minister had any proof to back his statement he should inform him in person.
President Miloš Zeman has given details of minor surgery he underwent at a
Prague hospital during the week.
The Czech head of state said he was operated on Tuesday evening for a small abscess in his mouth. He said in a television interview Thursday night that it still hurt and he had trouble concentrating.
Zeman’s health and ability to carry on for a further five years is being followed closely as the 73-year-old head of state faces a second round vote against challenger Jiří Drahoš in a week’s time.
Czech president Miloš Zeman will accept the resignation of prime minister
Andrej Babiš and his cabinet on January 24.
The date for the personal meeting between the head of state and ANO party leader was confirmed by the president’s spokesman on Thursday.
The timing is later than originally indicated and just two days ahead of the start of second round voting in presidential elections in which Zeman is seeking a further five year term. Zeman’s spokesman said the head of state could not find a gap in his programme earlier.
Zeman in expected to give the ANO leader another shot at forming a government but has said he wants to see proof of a majority in the lower house this time round. The minority government decided to resign on Wednesday, a day after failing to win a confidence vote.
The political future of current Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš seems rather up in the air at present. His perceived ally Miloš Zeman may struggle to win re-election in the second round of presidential elections next week and, with Mr. Babiš likely to face criminal charges, the ANO chief now says another top party figure could lead the government. I discussed the situation with political scientist Petr Just.
The Chamber of Deputies is set to debate on Friday whether to allow the
police to press criminal charges against the prime minister and his ANO
senior party colleague Jaroslav Faltýnek for the abuse of EU funds in
connection with the Stork’s Nest complex, the deputies decided on
The prime minister has consistently denied any wrongdoing and said the affair was intended to force him out of politics. The previous Chamber of Deputies had stripped the pair of their immunity, also on their request, but they regained it with re-election in October.
The parliament’s mandate and immunity committee on Tuesday recommended deputies remove the parliamentary immunity of Mr Babiš and Mr. Faltýnek.
The minority government of Andrej Babiš has decided to resign following its failure to win a vote of confidence in the lower house of parliament. The ANO leader will still get another attempt to win support for a government but under stepped up pressure to hold meaningful negotiations with other parties which might result in a coalition.
The country’s minority government led by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš
agreed in a meeting on Wednesday morning to resign after it failed to get
backing a day earlier in a confidence vote.
All 78 ANO party members voted in favour but the government did not attract
a single vote from any other party in the Chamber of Deputies. 117 MPs
The prime minister will now request a meeting with the president who has promised to give him a second chance at forming a new government. The current one will hold power until its replacement is named.
MPs from ANO, the Social Democrats, Freedom and Democracy and the Communist
Party passed a motion in the lower house Tuesday not to vote on the lifting
of immunity for Prime Minister Andrej Babiš of ANO and his senior party
colleague Jaroslav Faltýnek so they can face charges in connection with
the Stork’s Nest affair.
Former interior minister Milan Chovanec told the media the Social Democrats first wanted to resolve Tuesday’s vote of confidence which the minority government of ANO ministers and experts failed. The minority government received no support from any other party in the chamber and could therefore only count on 78 votes – well short of the minimum 101 needed. 117 MPs voted against.
The government is to tender its resignation; President Miloš Zeman has long telegraphed that he will give ANO leader Andrej Babiš, as the leader of election winners ANO, a second chance at forming a viable government. Mr Babiš signalled earlier he preferred a minority cabinet while the president has pushed for him to form a broader coalition to secure a majority.