Election winners ANO have ruled out speaking to representatives of the
Mayors and Independents Group or TOP 09 in a second round of talks on
forming a new government, the party’s leader, Andrej Babiš, told Czech
Television on Wednesday evening. The ANO chief said the two groupings had a
minimum number of deputies in the lower house and what’s more behaved in
a hostile manner toward his party.
Mr. Babiš said he would like his new government when it is formed to win a confidence vote in the lower house before Christmas. His party received almost 30 percent of the vote in last weekend’s elections and are currently sounding out other groupings on a possible coalition.
The ANO party is entitled to the post of speaker of the lower house in view
of its resounding victory in the general elections, Andrej Babiš told
journalists following a meeting with representatives of the centre-right
Civic Democratic Party on Tuesday.
The Civic Democrats, who have said they are not interested into entering into a coalition with ANO, made an unsuccessful bid for the post of speaker of the lower house during the talks.
The head of the Civic Democrats Petr Fiala argued that in the interest of maintaining the system of checks and balances the post of speaker should go to the second strongest party on the Czech political scene.
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.
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.
With the election results out, all eyes are now on the ANO party and its controversial leader Andrej Babiš who is likely to be tasked with forming the next government. Will the Czech Republic be headed by a prime minister who faces criminal charges and what are the possible coalition scenarios opening up? Those are issues I discussed with political scientist Jiří Pehe, and I began by asking who are the winners and losers of these elections.
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 Czech Pirate Party, who received around 10 percent in the general elections, have reiterated their rejection of entering a coalition with ANO or tacitly supporting a government led by Andrej Babiš’s party. The Pirates’ leader Ivan Bartoš said they would not cooperate with ANO in view of the fact that Mr. Babiš and a senior party colleague are facing criminal charges over alleged abuse of EU subsidies.
The centrist ANO party of billionaire businessman Andrej Babiš have scored
a resounding success in the Czech general elections, taking 29.6 percent of
the vote and coming first in all the country’s constituencies. The result
is considerably higher than the 18.65 percent the grouping received in the
last elections four years ago and leaves ANO on 78 seats.
Also enjoying major success have been the Czech Pirate Party, who were not in the previous lower house but came in on 10.8 percent. The other big winners were another newcomer to the Chamber of Deputies, the anti-migrant Freedom and Direct Democracy party led by Tomio Okamura, who got 10.6 percent.
The traditional main right-wing party the Civic Democrats enjoyed a resurrection after some fallow years, climbing from 7.7 percent in 2013 to 11.3 percent this time out. The Communists, who took 14.9 percent in 2013, saw a falloff in support, picking up 7.8 percent.
The major losers on a dramatic day for Czech politics were the leaders of the outgoing government the Social Democrats, who saw their support nosedive from 20.45 percent in 2013 to 7.3 percent.
The Christian Democrats saw a slight decline, taking 5.8 percent, compared to 6.8 last time out. TOP 09 and the Mayors group reached the five-percent threshold for entrance to the lower house by the skin of their teeth, with 5.3 and 5.2 percent respectively. Turnout was 60.8 percent, a very slight rise on the figure for 2013.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, says this year’s elections to the
Chamber of Deputies are neither crucial nor a turning point. After casting
his ballot on Friday, Mr. Zeman told reporters suggestions that these
elections were of unusual importance were “just an advertising
The president said the only crucial elections in modern Czech history had been held in 1990, when people could vote freely for the first time in over four decades.
The head of state implied that he had cast his ballot for the Party of Civic Rights, a grouping he founded and whose title previously included the word Zemanites.