The saga over the formation of a new government continues, with all eyes now on a planned meeting later this week between President Zeman and Miroslav Poche, the Social Democrats’ candidate for foreign affairs in a proposed minority coalition with ANO. Mr. Zeman is against the nomination and will ask Mr. Poche to step aside. However, he and his party leader show no sign of budging. I discussed the situation with political analyst Jiří Pehe.
Prime Minister-designate Andrej Babiš presented his proposed new cabinet line-up to the Czech president for approval on Sunday, two days after the centre-left Social Democrats agreed – following a party referendum – to join Mr Babiš’s centrist ANO party in a coalition government. But the political uncertainty is not over, with the foreign minister nomination proving controversial.
The European Union’s proposed budget for the next programme period is
“absolutely unacceptable” to the Czech Republic, according to Prime
Minister Andrej Babiš. He said on Monday that the future budget was flawed
in a similar manner to the one that is currently in operation. Mr. Babiš
said the EU had dictated programmes for the 2014 to 2020 period in which
large sums were earmarked for social areas but were hard to access.
The Czech leader said his government was therefore mapping fields in which investment was required and would push for more funding for those in the period beginning 2021.
President Miloš Zeman may hold the key to resovling the situation
surrounding the Social Democrats’ nomination of Miroslav Poche for
foreign minister, according to top party members quoted by the news website
The Social Democrats insist Mr. Poche get the post, despite opposition from potential coalition partners ANO, the Communists, who would support such a government, and Mr. Zeman.
Social Democrats deputy chairman Roman Onderka said that party boss Jan Hamáček cannot replace Mr. Poche as his nomination has been approved by the leadership.
Mr. Poche is due to hold talks with President Zeman, who reportedly plans to tell him to step aside. Mr. Onderka said that meeting may shed light on a possible way forward, adding that it could lead to talks between the head of state and the leaders of ANO and the Social Democrats.
Senior Social Democrat Milan Štěch says the party should pull out of a
deal with ANO to form a coalition if it is broken before it can even come
into effect. The speaker of the Senate was responding to ANO leader Andrej
Babiš’s refusal of the Social Democrats’ nominee for the post of
foreign minister, Miroslav Poche.
Mr. Babiš said ANO would not accept Mr. Poche just after the membership of the Social Democrats voted in an internal ballot to enter a minority coalition with ANO.
Such a government would be backed by the Communists, who also reject Mr. Poche as foreign minister. President Miloš Zeman is likewise opposed to the MEP’s nomination.
The chairman of the Social Democrats, Jan Hamáček, says Mr. Babiš had been aware that Mr. Poche was their candidate. Mr. Hamáček says his party have done all they can to reach a coalition deal and have no room to make further concessions.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš met with President Zeman at Prague Castle on
Sunday to present him with the new cabinet line-up. Mr Babiš said after
the meeting that his advisor and former labour and social affairs minister
František Koníček will not be part of the new cabinet. However, he
refused to disclose the names of ANO nominees for ministerial posts.
The appointment of the new government may be postponed due to a dispute over the Social Democrat’s choice of foreign minister, Miroslav Poche, who is opposed by the president and by the Communist Party.
The president claims that Mr. Poche, who had openly supported his opponent, Jiří Drahoš, in the recent presidential elections, is soft on migrants. Mr. Zeman said he will meet with Mr Poche next week and ask him to reconsider his nomination.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš will not suggest Social Democrat MEP Miroslav
Poche as a candidate for the post of foreign minister. Mr Babiš told the
daily Právo on Saturday that the reason was Poche’s stance on migrants.
Prime Minister Babiš se set to present President Zeman with the new cabinet line-up on Sunday. He plans to ask the lower house for a vote on confidence on July 11. President Zeman has opposed the Social Democrat’s choice of foreign minister, arguing that Poche backed immigrants coming to the country and has been critical of Israel.
Social Democrat leader Jan Hamáček said on Friday that an internal
party-wide referendum had approved forming a coalition government with
Prime Minister-designate Andrej Babiš's ANO movement. Just under 60
per cent of Social Democrats voted in favour of the move.
Babiš told reporters that he will meet Hamáček on Sunday and hand over a list of proposed ministers cabinet to President Miloš Zeman. But his government will still need the support of the Communists.
Communist Party leaders earlier agreed to consider tolerating the new minority coalition government – but only if it agrees to include seven of the Communists’ own basic points in its programme. They also want Babiš to guarantee that a law enforcing these priorities would be discussed by the lower house of Parliament at least six months before the end of the term.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party is due to take a final decision on the matter at their meeting in two weeks.
Czech Prime Minister-designate Andrej Babiš (ANO) has reportedly filed a
lawsuit against Slovakia at the European Court of Human Rights in
Strasbourg, in the latest chapter of a long-running dispute over whether he
was falsely listed as an agent of Czechoslovakia’s communist-era police,
The Slovak-born billionaire maintains that while he did meet with the StB when he was an employee of a Czechoslovak foreign trade firm, he never pledged to cooperate with them.
In February, the Regional Court in Bratislava rejected Babiš’s petition arguing that he was wrongly listed as an StB agent in the records of the Slovak National Memory Institute (ÚPN), which handles historical archives.
That petition came in response to the Slovak Constitutional Court having last year overturned earlier verdicts from other courts which had accepted Mr. Babiš’s assertion he had been incorrectly listed.
Babiš had announced his intention to file suit at the court in Strasbourg on June 6, the same day on which he was re-appointed prime minister.
After eight months of stalemate the Czech Republic looks set to get a new government capable of winning a confidence vote in the lower house. According to as yet unofficial reports, the Social Democrats have endorsed a coalition agreement on forming a minority government with the ANO party which would rely on support from the Communists.