Czech president meets CSSD, KDU heads over coalition talks

Předseda ČSSD Bohuslav Sobotka hovoří 19. prosince s novináři po jednání s prezidentem Milošem Zemanem na Pražském hradě.

published: 19.12.2013, 17:56 | updated: 19.12.2013 17:59:08

Prague - Social Democrat (CSSD) leader Bohuslav Sobotka today talked with President Milos Zeman about the negotiations on a potential Czech government that got stuck on the dispute over the post of agriculture minister, possible next PM Sobotka said after his regular meeting with Zeman.

Zeman had talks with Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) chairman Pavel Belobradek afterwards.

The CSSD, the ANO centrist movement and the KDU-CSL have been negotiating about a coalition government for several weeks. The three parties agreed on the coalition agreement, or the programme of their possible government, earlier this week.

On Monday, the three party leaders began to discuss the composition of the cabinet and decided that the CSSD would have eight, ANO seven and the KDU-CSL three ministers.

The KDU-CSL insists on being in charge of the Agriculture Ministry, which the CSSD does not want to give up and it is supported by ANO.

The Agriculture Ministry has powers related to the decisions on the returning of property within the church restitution law. The CSSD calls for a revision of the church restitution, while the KDU-CSL opposes this idea.

In November, Sobotka and Zeman started meeting on Thursdays to discuss the progress in the government-forming negotiations.

Sobotka said today he would like to meet Zeman before the end of the year and speak of the possible cabinet lineup with him.

Zeman appoints the members of the government, including prime minister.

Today´s meeting with Zeman mostly focused on the programme points of the approved coalition agreement, Sobotka said.

Belobradek presented the position of the KDU-CSL on the government lineup to Zeman. He told him why his party wants to get the Agriculture Ministry.

Belobradek said Zeman would like him as KDU-CSL leader to be a member of the government. Zeman would not mind if he were agriculture minister, Belobradek added.

The KDU-CSL national committee will discuss Sobotka´s offer of three ministries for the party, not including agriculture, tonight. The party indicated that it would be considering supporting a minority government rather than participating in it.

The CSSD offered the Christian Democrats the posts of deputy prime minister for human rights and minorities or for science, research and education, of labour and social affairs minister, and of transport or environment minister.

The development in the talks between the CSSD, ANO and the KDU-CSL now depends on the decision of the KDU-CSL national committee.




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