President Miloš Zeman will officially task the winner of the general elections Andrej Babiš of the ANO party with forming a new government on Tuesday, the President’s Office announced. Mr. Zeman has invited Mr. Babiš to Lany Chateau for a working lunch on Tuesday at which he will hand over the request in writing. The president will then meet with the leaders of all other parties that won seats in the lower house to hear their views on possible post-election scenarios.
Negotiations on forming a cabinet continue between election winner ANO and
the eight other parties who won seats in the lower house. On Tuesday
ANO’s negotiating team is set to offer the right-wing Civic Democrats,
who came second in the elections, a place in the government. The party’s
intention to make a coalition offer was confirmed by ANO deputy chair
Although ANO and the Civic Democrats would technically hold a 103 seat majority, the Civic Democrats have already indicated they do not want to enter into a coalition with ANO.
Talks will also take place with the right-wing TOP 09 which got 5.3 percent of the votes and has also said it is heading for the opposition.
The head of the TOP 09 party Miroslav Kalousek has announced that he will
not run for reelection at the party’s national conference in November.
The announcement comes in the wake of the party’s poor showing in the weekend general elections. TOP 09 won just 5.3 percent of the vote, only barely crossing the 5 percent threshold needed to win seats in the lower house. It will retain only 7 seats in the lower house, losing 19 seats.
Kalousek co-founded the party in 2009 and served as deputy chair under party leader Karel Schwarzenberg. He took over in 2015 when Schwarzenberg left the top post.
The CEO of Australian company European Metals Holdings, Keith Coughlan, has
said the company wants to negotiate the possibility of extraction of
lithium at Cínovka in Teplice in the Ore Mountains with the new
government. According to the CEO, EMH is ready to meet the obligations of a
memorandum signed by the Social Democrat Minister of Industry Jiří
Havlíček and the company at the beginning of October.
The firm has already negotiated with the state enterprise Diamo. It is unclear what tack the next government will take. Lithium mining in the Czech Republic became a heavily politicized issue ahead of the recent election. In the run-up, Andrej Babiš, whose ANO won the election, several times labelled the memorandum as theft.
Lobbyist Marek Dalík has until November 6 to begin serving a five year
prison sentence, the spokeswoman for Prague's Municipal Court has
confirmed. Mr Dalík, she said, was expected at Ruzyně prison at the
latest at four pm on the 6th, a Monday.
Mr Dalík, a former close aid to ex-prime minister Mirek Topolánek, was sentenced to prison in July for soliciting a bribe over a military deal.
President Miloš Zeman on Monday held his first meeting with Andrej Babiš
since the latter’s ANO party scored a massive success in the Czech
Republic’s general elections. Mr. Zeman said on Sunday that he would task
Mr. Babiš, whom he described as a pragmatist rather than a populist, with
forming a new government. The president said he wished to help in the
creation of a stable government.
After their meeting at Lány Chateau, Mr Babis confirmed he would be officially named to the task next week.
Meanwhile, ANO are set to continue post-election talks with representatives of the other parties that made it into the Chamber of Deputies. After meetings with the Communists, the Mayors and Independents and the Social Democrats on Sunday, Mr. Babiš and his team are due to speak to Freedom and Direct Democracy and the Christian Democrats on Monday.
ANO took almost 30 percent of the vote in the elections but many other parties have expressed reluctance to go into a coalition with them, in part because Mr. Babiš and a senior party colleague are facing criminal charges of EU subsidy abuse.
The government has made public the amount for which it will buy a
controversial pig farm in Lety, South Bohemia, from the company AGPI. The
contract, the outgoing government revealed was worth 450 million crowns
including tax (around 17.5 million euros), and the deal is to be signed in
the coming days; the sale was first approved in August. Some new sites had
speculated the amount as higher.
Completion of the sale will pave the way for the removal of the pig farm from the site of what used to be a concentration camp where Roma suffered and died during World War II. Many were sent on to their deaths at Auschwitz.
Operations at the farm are to cease within a matter of months and a proper memorial should go up at the site in the future.
Eleven people have been charged in connection with subsidy fraud of 50
million crowns in the Stork’s Nest affair, including ANO leader Andrej
Babiš and deputy leader Jaroslav Faltýnek. The spokeswoman for Prague’s
state prosecutor’s office Štěpánka Zenklová said that the office
would have to halt proceedings against the two politicians as they both won
new mandates at the weekend. Previously, the lower house had stripped them
of immunity to face criminal charges.
Mr Babiš is suspected of having orchestrated a plan for his Stork’s Nest farm to acquire a 50 million crown EU subsidy which should technically have been out of his reach. He has been charged with subsidy fraud and harming the EU’s financial interests.
The Archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Dominik Duka congratulated all of the
parties which won mandates in the Czech election at the weekend but said
that parties and movements that won had not been those that had worked to
build freedom in the country over the last 25 years.
In his view, parties which won were not traditionally left or right on the political spectrum and made clear the view that their gain was, for example, a political defeat for the European Union. He warned that anger, hatred and squabbling was continuing after the election as it had before, calling that “a truly bad sign”.
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