Deputy PM Havlíček: coalition rift over tax reform can be overcome

Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlíček has dismissed suggestions that the tax reform pushed through by the prime minister’s ANO party against the wishes of its junior coalition partner, the Social Democrats, will bring down the government.

Minister Havlíček told the news site novinky.cz that he was sure the rift between the ruling parties can be patched up, especially at a time when there were important tasks ahead, such as dealing with the coronavirus crisis and its economic impacts.

The ANO party on Thursday pushed through a bill that will lower income tax from the present 20 percent to 15 percent for low and medium income groups, and introduce a 23 percent tax for people with an income of over 139,000 crowns a month.

It was approved with support from the Communist Party and the centre-right Civic Democrats, who have long pushed for lower taxes, against the will of the Social Democrats. Although the junior coalition party originally supported the proposal, it changed its stance in favour of a 19 and 23 percent tax, because of the huge fall-out in state revenues.