The Social Democratic Party elected Jan Hamáček, deputy chairman of the lower house, as the party’s new leader on Sunday, entrusting him with the task of entering into negotiations on a possible coalition government with Andrej Babiš’ ANO party. The move may bring a breakthrough in the stalled government talks.
The former leading Czech government party, the Social Democrats, faces a crunch meeting over the weekend to choose a new leadership and try and patch the party up after disastrous election results last October. Key issues will be whether to go into government with ANO’s Andrej Babiš and what approach to take with the recently re-elected Czech president.
Reports prepared for the Central Bohemian subsidies authority a decade ago
highlighted risks connected with supporting the Stork’s Nest project,
iRozhlas.cz reported on Monday. The prime minister in resignation, ANO
leader Andrej Babiš, is facing charges of abusing subsidies in connection
with Stork’s Nest.
The 2008 studies said that some items in the construction project’s budget were overpriced and that the applicant was unclear, concluding that providing support for it would not be appropriate.
Mr. Babiš and ANO party colleague Jaroslav Faltýnek are accused of wrongly acquiring CZK 50 million in European Union subsidies in connection with Stork’s Nest. They say the charges are politically motivated.
Outgoing prime minister and ANO leader Andrej Babiš has confirmed that
head of state Miloš Zeman will give him an unlimited period to try and
form a government and will not seek a guarantee that he has 101 votes in
support in the lower house..
Babiš made the announcement after a meeting with the president on Thursday night. He confirmed that the two would next meet on the evening of February 18.
That day the Social Democrats are expected to elect a new leadership which should decide whether to enter into talks about a coalition with ANO or offer an ANO led government support.
The Czech Republic is a small step closer to a bill on general referendums after four parties in the Chamber of Deputies agreed they will back a proposal by Freedom and Direct Democracy in a first reading. The parties in negotiations, including ANO, have a constitutional majority necessary to make changes. However they remain at odds over what form these will take.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who is making a second attempt to form a new government after his minority government failed to win a vote of confidence in the lower house, has said that if his second attempt fails he would push for early elections. His potential partners have accused him of applying pressure tactics ahead of the second round of talks.
Andrej Babiš’s statement that there could be early elections if his
second attempt to form a government fails was intended to prepare the
ground for a fresh round of talks, according, Milan Chovanec. The acting
chairman of the Social Democrats said the PM in resignation’s words could
be understood as a threat aimed at ensuring such talks proved fruitful.
Speaking on the same TV debate show as Mr. Chovanec on Sunday, the chairman of TOP 09, Jiří Pospíšil, said Mr. Babiš’s comments in a newspaper interview on Saturday were a tactical move aimed at pushing the Social Democrats into a corner.