PM refusing to accept blame in subsidy scandal

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš who defended himself in Parliament on Thursday following a second preliminary EC audit suggesting he has a conflict of interest, refused to say whether he would step down if a final audit confirmed this suspicion.

He said he had fully complied with Czech legislation and repeated that he was certain the Czech Republic would not have to return any subsidies to the EU.

Meanwhile Jan Hamáček, leader of the Social Democrats, a junior partner in the coalition government, said he sees no reason why his party should leave the government in connection with the scandal surrounding Prime Minister Andrej Babiš's alleged conflict of interest.

Following a meeting of the party leadership on Thursday Hamáček told media that the Social Democrats did not join the cabinet in order to solve their coalition partner's problems but to implement the party’s own policy programme.

The Social Democrat leader stressed that if any subsidies had been drafted in violation of the law they must be returned.