President Miloš Zeman says he will charge ANO’s Andrej Babiš with
forming a new government after the party scored a resounding victory in
elections to the Chamber of Deputies. Mr. Zeman told the site Blesk.cz that
he would change his outlook on the matter only if Mr. Babiš were
uninterested in becoming head of government.
The president said he wished to help in the creation of a stable coaltion. He is due to meet ANO leader for the pair’s first post-election talks at his Lány residence near Prague on Monday. Responding to descriptions of Mr. Babiš in the international media, Mr. Zeman said he was not a populist but a pragmatist.
ANO have begun holding talks with other parties with a view to forming a
new coalition government. Czech Television reported that ANO’s
negotiating team, headed by party chief Andrej Babiš, had held the first
such negotiations with the leader of the Communists, Vojtěch Filip, and
other representatives of the party. The Communist leader said he had not
discussed forming a coalition with ANO as the two parties' outlooks
were so far apart.
Leaders of the Mayors and Independents also spoke to ANO on Sunday, though they said the focus was solely on the composition of the Chamber of Deputies. The Social Democrats are reported to be meeting ANO on Sunday evening.
ANO scored almost 30 percent of the vote in the general elections. Speaking after their landslide victory, Mr. Babiš said he was surprised his party had done so well and said he hoped President Miloš Zeman would charge him with forming a government.
In an interview with iDnes.cz, Mr. Babiš said his party was closest to the Civic Democrats, the Mayors and Independents group and the Czech Pirate Party. He said some elements of the programme of Freedom and Direct Democracy were also acceptable to ANO.
However, the heads of many other parties have expressed reluctance to enter a coalition headed by Mr. Babiš in view of the fact that he is facing criminal charges of abusing EU subsidies.
For his part, the ANO chief said the biggest problem in running the Czech state was coalition forming. He said it was a pity that the country did not have a majority electoral system that would allow for the effective functioning of the state and the government.
Mr. Babiš said, however, that changing the current system of proportional representation would not be priority for his party in negotiations on forming a new cabinet.
Those caught using the Prague public transport system without tickets will
be able to pay lower fines from Monday, under a new regulation. The regular
fine of CZK 800 crowns will be reduced to CZK 400 on the condition that the
fare dodger provides evidence within two weeks that they have purchased a
yearly pass at a price of CZK 3,650.
The city’s transport authority is introducing the new fines scheme as a trial until the end of January 2018.
The leader of election winners ANO, Andrej Babiš, says the party would
like to attain the post of speaker in the new Chamber of Deputies. However,
Mr. Babiš told the news website Novinky.cz that ANO did not have
sufficient votes to decide the post on their own and would be willing to
make concessions to other parties and wished to hear their views.
On Sunday the ANO boss began speaking to representatives of other parties about the composition of the lower house in parallel with talks on establishing a coalition government.
The speaker in the last Chamber of Deputies was Jan Hamáček of the Social Democrats.
Matěj Stropnický has resigned as leader of the Green Party after the
party’s poor showing in the general elections. The Greens received only
1.5 percent of the vote. Another former party leader, Jana Drápalová,
called for current deputy chairman Michal Berg to stand for the
grouping’s top post at a congress in January.
The Greens were present in the lower house between 2006 and 2010 but have failed to get back in since. Matěj Stropnický is the son of the ANO politician Martin Stropnický.
Two ministers in the outgoing Czech cabinet have failed to win election to
the Chamber of Deputies. Neither the Social Democrat minister of labour and
social affairs, Michaela Marksová, nor the Christian Democrat minister of
culture, Daniel Herman, won mandates in the general elections.
Jan Mládek, who was industry and trade minister for the Social Democrats until February, also failed to get in.
Meanwhile, the new Chamber of Deputies will get its youngest ever member with Dominik Feri of TOP 09. Mr. Feri, who was elected onto the council in Teplice at 18, is aged 21. The oldest fresly elected MP is his party colleague Karel Schwarzenberg, 79.
The average age of MPs in the new lower house will be 47.5 years, two years younger than in the outgoing one. The number of women in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies has risen by five to 44.
Following ANO’s major victory in the Czech general elections, the
party’s deputy leader Jaroslav Faltýnek says they will do their best to
reach agreement on forming a new coalition government as quickly as
possible. Speaking in a TV debate hours after his party scored almost 30
percent in the elections, Mr. Faltýnek said, however, that coming to an
arrangement would probably be more difficult given the high number of
parties that made it into the lower house.
A record nine groupings crossed the five-percent threshold for election, including two, the Czech Pirate Party and Freedom and Direct Democracy, that have never been in the Chamber of Deputies before. Three parties scraped in on less than six percent.
Mr. Faltýnek said it was a good thing that President Miloš Zeman had set the latest date possible – 30 days from the election – to call the first session of the new lower house. This creates space for debate, the ANO deputy leader said.
ANO’s first deputy chairman, Jaroslav Faltýnek, says the party will
first discuss forming a new government with their partners in the outgoing
Czech government, the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats. But Mr.
Faltýnek said ANO would also sit down with all the other parties that had
made it into the Chamber of Deputies. He said ANO chief Andrej Babiš
should become prime minister in the next government.
Two of Mr. Faltýnek’s party colleagues, cabinet members Karla Šlechtová and Dan Ťok, say they would prefer to avoid entering government again with the Christian Democrats.
The electoral leader of the Social Democrats, Lubomír Zaorálek, says his
party appears headed for the opposition benches. The grouping took only 7.3
percent of the vote after coming first last time out on 20.4 percent.
Meanwhile, the Social Democrats’ outgoing prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, said he was disquieted by the rise of extremist parties, an evident reference to the anti-migrant and anti-Islam Freedom and Direct Democracy.