Czech Christian Democrats offered to head Agriculture Ministry

Předseda KDU-ČSL Pavel Bělobrádek odpovídá 20. prosince v Praze na otázky po jednání předsedů ČSSD, ANO a KDU-ČSL o rozdělení míst v koaliční vládě.

published: 20.12.2013, 16:12 | updated: 20.12.2013 16:15:48

Prague - The Czech Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) have been offered the post of agriculture minister that they sought, along with culture minister from their senior coalition partner, the Social Democrats (CSSD), KDU-CSL chairman Pavel Belobradek told reporters today after the coalition meeting.

However, Belobradek said his party might not accept the offer.

This could mean the end of all attempts to form a government coalition as the CSSD and ANO, the third coalition party, consider it the last offer.

Apart from Belobradek, today´s meeting was attended by CSSD chairman Bohuslav Sobotka and agro mogul Andrej Babis, leader of ANO.

The KDU-CSL wants to decide on the offer on Saturday at the latest and it would like to meet the ANO and CSSD representatives by the end of the week, Belobradek said.

He said he considered the CSSD´s offer an accommodating gesture. However, the KDU-CSL leadership said on Thursday the party would like to head three ministries.

The Christian Democrats consider the agriculture sector their priority, he reiterated.

Apart from the post of agriculture and culture ministers, the KDU-CSL should also fill the post of a minister without portfolio in the nascent government.

Belobradek said the Christian Democrats would like to exchange culture for a stronger sector.

However, ANO deputy group head Jaroslav Faltynek said he considered the current offer final. He added that he cannot imagine ANO to exchange, for instance, the defence or transport sectors for culture with the Christian Democrats.

Today´s meeting resulted in the victory of the KDU-CSL that should accept the offer, Faltynek noted.

Sobotka also said today´s offer should be final.

Besides, the CSSD made its offer conditional on having a deputy agriculture minister in charge of the State Land Office that influences the return of the churches´ property confiscated by the communist regime within the church restitution law, which the CSSD would like to revise.

Belobradek said he can imagine it but it must be a reciprocal measure.

The CSSD, which won the late-October general election with 20.5 percent of the vote, ANO, which ended second with 18.7 percent, and the Christian Democrats (6.8 percent), who returned to the Chamber of Deputies after three years, together command a majority of 111 votes in the 200-seat lower house.


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