Minority coalition set to win vote of confidence
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.
Ahead of the debate and eventual vote in parliament, dozens of demonstrators gathered outside the government building on Wednesday morning to protest against having a prime minister in place who faces criminal charges and a government which will have to rely on support from the Communists.
It will be for the first time the Communist Party has acquired a share of power since 1989. The Communists linked their support for Mr. Babiš to a number of conditions, including a gradual minimum wage hike and support for a law taxing Church restitutions.
“I believe it is a duty of every president to support a government he previously appointed. I would like to congratulate all the leaders of the three coalition parties, and I hope this will be a successful outcome of long negotiations. I also hope that the lower house will give the government a vote of confidence.”
Ahead of his speech, deputies of the opposition TOP 09 left their seats to protests against President Zeman’s support for a government backed by the Communist party.
“The main priorities of our government include pension reform, digitalisation, the fight for Czech interests within the European Union, the fight for European interests within the world, in which we want to take active part, a strategic investment programme, reform of the state and the strengthening of security.”
The biggest surprise came from former interior minister Milan Chovanec of the Social Democrats, who announced that he wouldn’t support the coalition government, arguing that it went against his conscience.
The lower house session is likely to continue until late afternoon, after the recording of our regular Radio Prague programme.