New center-left coalition government gets down to business
The appointment of a new center-left coalition government to office on Wednesday has ended a six- month power vacuum during which the country was ruled by an interim administration handpicked by the president. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka’s three party coalition has promised to boost economic growth, streamline state administration, raise pensions and bring the country back to the EU mainstream. But commentators are already predicting hard times ahead for an alliance of parties as politically diverse as the Social Democrats, ANO and the Christian Democrats. I asked commentator Jiří Pehe what could hold them together.
Will it not create tensions to have a prime minister from one party – the strongest party in government- and a finance minister from another? This created serious problems for the former center-right government…
“Certainly it is a problem. It would be a problem in any government, on the other hand in this very difficult time it seems to me that it may be advantageous for the Social Democrats to give the finance ministry to Mr. Babiš and his ANO simply because he is promising to put the state finances in order without raising taxes and without any draconian measures and everyone will be waiting for him to deliver. So, yes, on the one hand of course politically it is something that can be used against the prime minister but at the same time because the Czech economy is not in the best shape it may be to the advantage of the Social Democrats to give this particular ministry to a coalition partner.”
What are the coalition’s chances of delivering on their promises – because it does not seem they have the money for it?