The leader of the Social Democrats (ČSSD) Jan Hamáček has said the party
would be looking to have at least five ministries under its control if it
formed a minority with the ANO party of acting prime minister Andrej
Hamáček has refused to say which ministries would be targeted but suggested that they would correspond with the party’s priorities or where ANO was perceived to have a conflict of interest. The latter could include the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Interior given the fact Babiš faces charges for subsidy fraud in connection with the so-called Stork’s Nest affair.
Babiš has said his priority is now a minority government with the Social Democrats supported by the communists.
The leadership of the Communist Party has said it considers resolving
negotiations on the forming of a new government a top priority. According
to the Communists, the current government in resignation, which failed its
confidence vote in January, would be a “source of instability”.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said that ANO was now putting all its focus into negotiations with the Social Democrats with whom the party hopes to enter into an apparent minority which could benefit from tacit support from the Communists.
The prime minister in resignation, Andrej Babiš, will next week inform
President Miloš Zeman about his ongoing efforts to form a new government,
the latter’s spokesperson, Jiří Ovčáček, said on Tuesday. Mr.
Ovčáček said that Mr. Zeman would not issue the ANO leader with a
deadline to create a cabinet soon, adding that he had plenty of time until
Mr. Babiš, whose first attempt to form a government ended after a failed confidence vote, said last week that he would try to accelerate the process. He is due to meet representatives of the Communists, Freedom and Direct Democracy and the Social Democrats on Thursday.
The leader of the Civic Democrats said he regarded an invitation to speak to ANO as nothing but an instrument to exert pressure on other potential coalition parties.
Czech prime minister in resignation mode, Andrej Babiš, has said he will
attempt to speed up negotiations over the formation of a new government.
He said on Friday that he would seek to inform president Miloš Zeman about progress by the end of March. Talks with the Social Democrat party are scheduled next week.
President Zeman said a day earlier that he was becoming concerned about the lack of progress on creating a new government since elections at the end of October.
These gave a clear victory to Babiš’ ANO party well but short of majority in the lower house. The ANO leader failed a first attempt to win a confidence vote but has been promised a second attempt by the president.
The lower house is meeting to debate the extensive personnel changes made
by the outgoing Babis government.
The right wing Civic Democrats, who initiated the special session, argue that a government without a confidence vote should adopt a caretaker role and does not have a mandate to make far-reaching changes in personnel or other areas.
The Civic Democrats would like the lower house to pass a resolution to that effect, but such a proclamation would not be binding and Andrej Babiš has already said he would not respect it.
His government, which failed to win a confidence vote in the lower house, has come under fire for dismissing a large number of people in key posts in government administration and state-owned agencies and companies.
Communist Party leader Vojtěch Filip has cast doubt on the credibility of
the ANO party following its U-turn on the matter of the election of Zdeněk
Ondráček head of the General Inspectorate of the Security Forces.
Shortly after his election, ANO bowed to public and political pressure and withdrew its support for Ondráček, which resulted in his resignation.
His election to the post had been one of the conditions stated by the Communist Party in return for its support of a second ANO-led government. Filip said there was no way of knowing whether ANO would keep any of its other promises to the Communist Party.
Members of ANO back some form of cooperation with the Social Democrats and
the Communist Party. In an internal party referendum, the majority said
they favoured that option. A minority coalition with the Social Democrats
backed by the Communists appears to be a possible way forward for ANO, who
came first in elections in October but have not yet been able to form a
Around a third of ANO members said they would prefer a minority government supported by the Communists and Freedom and Direct Democracy.
In the ANO internal referendum 90 percent of 2,800 members polled said party chairman Andrej Babiš, who is facing criminal charges of abusing EU subsidies, should lead the government.
On Friday Zdeněk Ondráček was elected chairman of the lower house committee that oversees the agency that investigates police malpractice. The move sparked plans for street demonstrations due to Mr. Ondráček’s past as a pre-1989 riot policeman. Now, however, ANO, who helped the Communist win the post, are set to remove him.
The lower house of Parliament on Wednesday approved a controversial Communist Party proposal for Church restitutions to be taxed. Although the bill was only passed in its first reading, support from the parties currently debating a coalition-in-the making has cast doubt on the future of a hard-won settlement between the country’s 16 churches and the State.
Governments in resignation usually uphold a pledge not to take key decisions for the remainder of their mandate. But that hasn’t stopped the prime minister. Instead, he had doubled down on his intent to force the head of GIBs, the national police inspectorate, to resign. So far, the official has dug in his heels but the matter is promising heat up even more in the coming days.