published: 06.09.2012, 13:05 | updated: 06.09.2012 13:17:51
Prague - The stand of the Czech senior Civic Democratic Party´s (ODS) MPs who contributed to the failure of the government´s package of measures to stabilise public budgets in the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday will show their real goals in the weeks ahead, PM Petr Necas (ODS) said today.
He said the time will show whether they are really concerned about programme matters, or whether they are driven by an effort to damage the government or a particular politician.
Six ODS members of the lower house of parliament joined the opposition and sank the stabilisation package that the centre-right coalition government considers to be of key importance.
The government again approved the package of tax changes, including a rise in VAT, today and it will again submit it to the Chamber of Deputies and link it with a vote of confidence.
The package is important also because the Finance Ministry has created a draft budget for 2013 on the basis of it. The changes are needed for the state deficit remaining beneath 3 percent of GDP.
The one-percent increase in both VAT rates alone is to generate 15 billion crowns. Other tax changes are to bring in the budget another 10 billion crowns.
Finance Minister Minister Miroslav Kalousek (TOP 09) said on Wednesday the six ODS rebellious deputies were not driven by their conviction that high taxes are detrimental to people or to the economy.
He said the situation is a result of an intra-party political struggle within the ODS before the party´s congress and that Necas´s head is at stake.
"If a reasonable agreement is reached relatively quickly and flexibly and the stabilisation package is passed, this subjective opinion will probably prove false," Necas said after the government meeting today.
A source from the government coalition, talking to CTK, also alerted to the ties of some of the rebels to the largest health insurance company VZP.
The source said pressing on Necas, the rebels are trying to prevent the investigation into the case of electronic health books IZIP to which Health Minister Leos Heger (TOP 09) opened the way earlier this week.
Heger said a crime for 450 million crowns may have been committed with the IZIP books, citing a ministerial check in VZP.
One of the rebels, Petr Tluchor, a member of the VZP board, wrote on the Internet today that Necas should dissociate himself on behalf of the ODS leadership from the anonymous spread of slanders and start negotiating with his own MPs instead.
"We will not allow anyone to intimidate us with these StB-like discrediting practices and we will continue pushing through a change to the package to ensure that it does not harm the Czech economy and respects the ODS programme and the interests of our voters," Tluchor wrote.
StB was the secret police under the communist regime.
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