Are you in or out? This is the question being mulled by the Social Democrats, as they are the ones who have to decide whether to take part in a coalition government with the ANO movement but propped up in the background by the Communist Party. We also need to bear in mind that, for the first time since the Velvet Revolution in 1989, the Communists are very close to influencing Czech government policy, Grayling Czech Republic says in the May issue of their Political Digest..
However, this hesitant line of reasoning when it comes to government participation is not exclusively limited to Andrej Babiš’s potential coalition partners, but lately has become a point of deliberation among ANO members themselves. Some members of the movement are opposed to the ad-hoc cooperation with the anti-immigrant and anti-EU Direct Democracy Party (SPD) headed by Tomio Okamura. There’s the vocal opposition of the Minister of Justice, Robert Pelikan, and the more cautious tone of Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch, who has admitted that he would probably not be part of a government supported by the SPD.
It has been quite a while since the Czech Republic had a government supported by a majority in the Chamber of Deputies and this time is no different, with increasing haziness surrounding the issue of who will feature in Babiš’s second government. The current caretaker transport, defence and foreign affairs ministers are unlikely to continue in the new government.
Despite all the uncertainties, which include the upcoming results of a grassroots Social Democratic referendum to be announced on 15 June, recent days have given us one “assurance”. The president will appoint Mr Babiš as the new PM next Wednesday for a second time before mid-June. In this hesitant time, that is one of the few certainties we have.
26th January 2018