Jaroslav Staník, a former secretary of the extreme-right opposition
Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) movement, will be tried in court over
statements he made about Jews, Roma and homosexuals.
Staník has been charged with fomenting hatred towards a group of people, infringing upon their rights and freedoms, and denying the Holocaust while calling for genocide. If found guilty, he faces up to three years in prison.
According to eyewitnesses, including fellow MPs, Staník said last October that homosexuals, Roma and Jews should be shot at birth, and called for members of those minority groups to be gassed. He had allegedly been drinking heavily when he made the comments in the restaurant of the lower house of parliament.
ANO would have won elections last month with 31 percent of the vote,
suggests an opinion poll conducted by the CVVM agency. The
government-leading party garnered just under 30 percent in elections last
The survey indicates the Civic Democrats would have come second last month on 14 percent of the vote, ahead of the Social Democrats on 11 percent. The Christian Democrats gained compared to previous CVVM polls, while the Pirates, the Social Democrats and Freedom and Direct Democracy slipped.
Neither TOP 09 nor the Mayors and Independents would have reached the 5 percent threshold needed to return to Parliament, the survey indicates.
The head of the TOP 09 deputies group, Miroslav Kalousek, has called on ANO
chief Andrej Babiš to apologise for accusing him of drunkenness. During a
break from Wednesday evening’s session of the lower house Prime Minister
Babiš said that Mr. Kalousek was plastered and also a thief.
The TOP 09 politician said he hoped the ANO leader would apologise, in which case he would cease considering legal action over the statements.
Mr. Kalousek had accused Mr. Babiš of not being manly for withdrawing to the lower house when his intention of speaking to demonstrators outside Parliament was thwarted by missiles being thrown from the crowd.
The creation of a coalition government of ANO and the Social Democrats
supported by the Communists represents the end of an era for the Czech
Republic, say some opposition politicians. The government passed the
necessary vote of confidence in the lower house in the early hours of
Karel Schwarzenberg of TOP 09 said the republic created in 1993 had now been replaced by an idiosyncratic, strong-leader style democracy shaped by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.
Petr Fiala, the leader of the Civic Democrats, said the new government was “half-communist” and would do nothing for the country. Christian Democrats’ chief Pavel Bělobrádek said that the first Czech Republic had come to an end and a new one had begun.
The Communist Party’s support for the minority coalition gives the party their first share of power since 1989.
The minority government of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš won a parliamentary
confidence vote in the early hours of Thursday, following a contentious
Mr Babiš’s new government is the first since 1989 to cooperate with the staunchly pro-Russian and anti-NATO Communists, who pledged to back him in exchange for positions in state-owned enterprises and policy concessions.
His centrist ANO party won nearly 30 per cent of the vote in the October general election, but many parties refused to work with him, as he faces fraud charges for allegedly misappropriating EU funds some 10 years ago.
In June, after months of wrangling, the Social Democrats formally agreed to form a coalition with ANO. Together they have 93 seats in the 200-member parliament, so Mr Babiš had to rely on the backing of the Communists, who have 15 seats, to win the confidence vote. In the end, the government received 105 votes.
Mr Babiš’s first minority government lost a confidence vote in January, after which he was invited by President Miloš Zeman to make a second attempt.
A minority coalition of ANO and the Social Democrats is undergoing a vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday. Although Prime Minister Andrej Babiš doesn’t have a majority, he will in all probability succeed in his second attempt form a government, after having secured a deal with the Communists who pledged to back the coalition during key votes.
President Miloš Zeman expressed his support for the ANO-Social Democrat
minority coalition in a speech at the lower house of Parliament ahead of
Wednesday’s confidence vote in Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s
He praised the government’s programme statement, in particular its call for a 10-year investment program into infrastructure, both at the municipal and national level.
Ahead of President Zeman’s speech and formal debate, MPs from the conservative opposition party TOP 09 left the chamber to protest the fact that in exchange for their toleration of his government, Mr Babiš has made policy concessions to the Communists.
Another opposition party, the Christian Democrats, protested by unrolling a banner featuring the Soviet red star and declaring they would vote against any government relying on Communist support.
A minority coalition of ANO and the Social Democrats is set to undergo a
vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday. Prime Minister
Andrej Babiš’s government will in all probability pass that necessary
test after the ANO leader brokered a deal with the Communist Party under
which they will back the coalition during key votes.
President Miloš Zeman is due to attend the lower house session to express his support for the new government, whose formation he has long advocated.
With the agreement to prop up the coalition the Communists have acquired a share of power at national level for the first time since 1989.
ANO won elections in October but saw a first attempt at forming a single-party government fail when it lost a confidence vote earlier this year.
In the wake of justice minister Taťána Malá’s sudden resignation over allegations of plagiarism – coming just two days ahead of a scheduled confidence vote in the new government – Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has nominated constitutional law professor Jan Kněžínek to fill her shoes, following an outcry after he first suggested he would take over the post himself.
Representatives of ANO and the Social Democrats have signed a coalition
deal between the two parties, a day before their joint minority government
undergoes the necessary vote of confidence in the lower house. Also on
Tuesday ANO and the Communist Party put their signatures to a deal under
which the latter have agreed to tolerate the new government.
Opposition parties have criticised the head of ANO, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, for allowing the Communists to have a share of power for the first time since the Velvet Revolution in 1989. They say a different government could have been formed if Mr. Babiš, who is facing criminal charges, had stood aside.
All parties but ANO, the Social Democrats and the Communists say they will vote against the new coalition when it undergoes a confidence vote in the lower house on Wednesday.
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