Electoral coalitions strike deal on forming new government

Representatives of electoral coalitions negotiate a joint government, Prague, November 2, 2021

Two blocs of parties that ran in recent general elections have agreed on the outline of a new Czech coalition government headed by Petr Fiala of the Civic Democrats. The five groupings involved are due to sign a coalition deal on Monday.

The centre-right Together alliance comprises the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and TOP09, while the Pirates and Mayors & Independents also stood as an electoral alliance in October’s elections.

Three and a half weeks after polling took place, the two blocs – who together have 108 mandates in the 200-seat lower house – hammered out a coalition deal after negotiations lasting over 12 hours on Tuesday.

Speaking after the marathon talks, possible future prime minister Petr Fiala of the Civic Democrats outlined what cabinet posts would go to the three-party Together group he led into the elections.

“The Together coalition will occupy the positions of minister of finance, minister of defence, minister of labour and social affairs, minister of transport, minister of health, minister of justice, minister of agriculture, minister of the environment, minister of culture and minister of science, research and innovation”.

Another seven briefs will go to the Pirates and the Mayors & Independents. They are interior, industry, foreign affairs, education, regional development, legislation and European affairs.

Petr Fiala | Photo: Michaela Danelová,  Czech Radio

Three of the posts – minister for European affairs, minister for legislation and science and research and innovation minister – did not feature in the outgoing ANO-led government of Andrej Babiš.

However, Petr Fiala assured voters the additional positions did not mean the creation of new departments.

“I wish to emphasise that we are not creating any new authorities or ministries. Let me point out that none of these posts is new. All three were filled, more than once, in previous Czech governments.”

As for what names will receive which portfolios, Zbyněk Stanjura of the Civic Democrats is tipped to take over at the Ministry of Finance and his party colleague Jana Černochová may well get the defence job.

TOP09’s Vlastimil Válek is in the frame for health, while Christian Democrats chief Marian Jurečka reportedly has his eye on agriculture.

Mayors leader Vít Rakušan makes no secret of his hope to become interior chief, while his party colleague Petr Gazdík is spoken about for education.

For the Pirates, chairman Ivan Bartoš is a possible future minister of regional development and digitalization and fellow Pirate Jan Lipavský is tipped for foreign affairs.

Mr. Fiala said that though they were important, the right time to make individual names public would be once he had been appointed prime minister and could present the president with his proposed cabinet.

The parties are set to sign a coalition deal on Monday, the same day the new lower house convenes, and Mr. Fiala is due to see Miloš Zeman once he leaves intensive care.

With Mr. Zeman having previously stated that he would task Andrej Babis with trying to form a new government, that is when the whole thing could get interesting.