9th May 2017

Radio Praha: Fate of Czech government hangs in the balance over Finance Minister's political future

The future of the Czech government hangs in the balance as country’s president and prime minister engage in a tug of war over one man – billionaire Finance Minister Andrej Babiš who is suspected of having dodged taxes and influenced media coverage in a daily he formerly owned against political rivals. The president has said he cannot dismiss Andrej Babiš from office until the prime minister terminates the coalition agreement on which the ruling coalition stands, Radio Praha writes.

The political future of Andrej Babiš has put the fate of the Czech government at stake just six months ahead of the country’s general elections. Aware of the difficulties of dislodging the leader of one of the coalition parties and presently the most popular politician in the country, Prime Minister Sobotka first attempted to bring down the government “in defence of political ethics”. When the move was thwarted by President Zeman he backtracked on the plan and proposed the dismissal of Finance Minister Andrej Babiš instead.

Andrej Babiš has already said he considers the coalition agreement “dead” and has stated that he will want guarantees that the candidate nominated by his ANO party to succeed him will be accepted. However, the party itself has made no guarantees that its ministers will remain in office following the sacking of their party chief and it is not clear how the termination of the coalition agreement would affect the rest of the government’s term in office. The parties in question will have plenty of time to discuss these issues, since President Zeman has indicated he will not move to resolve the crisis until after his visit to China which ends on May 18th. Read more.

Read also Czech PM drops plan to resign.

Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic