Tensions high as lower house meets for constituting session
The newly-elected lower house of Parliament is holding its first session on Monday, opening the way for the demise of the old government and the naming of a new prime minister. In view of strong opposition from the traditional parties to an emerging minority government headed by Andrej Babiš, the opposition parties are pushing for the lower house to be able to fully apply its role within the system of checks and balances.
And, uncharacteristically, even on day one, the moves leading up to a new administration have been more or less marked out by ANO leader Andrej Babiš, whom the president has promised to appoint prime minister. Given the reluctance of other parties to enter into a coalition with him, Babiš is working to put together a minority government with members of his own party and unaffiliated experts. He appears determined to make good on his election victory and govern the country with or without a vote of confidence from the lower house.
“We have to wait for the demise of the present government and then for the president to appoint me prime minister. I am not sure when exactly that will happen, but I want to have a cabinet line-up and the government’s policy programme ready by November 27.”
A call from TOP 09 leader Miroslav Kalousek for the traditional parties to block the constitution of the new lower house by failing to elect deputies, failed to win support, but four centre- right parties (the Civic Democrats, Mayors and Independents, Christina Democrats and TOP 09) formed a “democratic bloc” to offset what they see as a threat to democracy from the growing influence of the anti-establishment ANO party.
“We want to make the new assembly operational, to get on with the business at hand and, if it comes to that, open the way for Mr. Babiš’ criminal prosecution. We want the Mandate and Immunity Committee in the hands of the opposition.”