Hamáček: electing anti-Semite to Czech News Agency council could lead Soc Dems to quit gov't

Social Democrats party chairman Jan Hamáček told journalists on Monday that his party could withdraw from the coalition government if its senior partner ANO votes to elect far-right journalist Michal Semin to the council of state news agency ČTK.

Semin, who has blamed American elites for the 9/11 terror attacks, heads the ultra-conservative movement Akce DOST. Last week, the Federation of Jewish Communities protested against his candidacy, citing his alleged anti-Semitic statements

His candidacy for the ČTK council was proposed by the far-right opposition Freedom and Direct Democracy party. It was also backed by ANO deputies in a first-round vote earlier in June.

Hamáček said that Semin was an “unacceptable” candidate. If ANO voted to support him in the second round on 20 June, there would be no point for the Social Democrats to continue in the coalition government, he said.

Later on Monday, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who founded ANO, said his party had not supported Semin’s candidacy and would not back him in future. He said he did not understand why Hamáček said otherwise, calling it “a nonsense”.

Author: Brian Kenety