Czech press survey - May 17


17.05.2014 14:39

Prague - Czech Finance Minister and ANO leader Andrej Babis reacted inappropriately to Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka´s (Social Democrats, CSSD) recent lash-out at Pavel Telicka, ANO´s candidate for EU commissioner, Barbora Tacheci writes in Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) today.


Ilustrační foto - Zleva místopředseda vlády pro ekonomiku a ministr financí Andrej Babiš a předseda vlády Bohuslav Sobotka před jednáním vlády, která zasedala 9. dubna v Praze. ČTK Krumphanzl Michal

Babis, a billionaire owner of the Agrofert company, got annoyed by Sobotka´s provocative remark that Telicka will definitely find ways to comfortably support himself as he can always find a billionaire to cling to, Tacheci writes.

Reacting to Sobotka, Babis advised him not to dare making such remarks in a situation where he, in his former capacity as finance minister, is to blame for the suspicious privatisation of the OKD mining company in the mid-2000s.

In addition, it was the then governing CSSD that appointed Telicka as [the first Czech] EU commissioner in 2004, Babis pointed out, cited by Tacheci.

Babis evidently fails to understand that before becoming EU commissioner for a short time in 2004, Telicka had not clung to any billionaire but had worked for the state within the standing Czech mission to the EU and as a deputy foreign minister, Tacheci writes.

In addition, if Sobotka dares to criticise Babis in spite of being to blame for the OKD deal, is it appropriate for Babis to choose Sobotka as a partner to govern with? Tacheci asks.

The two Czech right-wing opposition parties, TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats (ODS), will not go each against other in the autumn Senate polls, but they can hardly be expected to strike any special alliance, Petr Pesek writes in Lidove noviny (LN).

Logically, the two parties want to eliminate the left wing´s present majority in the upper house of parliament.

In view of their far-from-brilliant voter preferences, they want to achieve the goal through the minimum possible cooperation - mutual nonaggression, Pesek writes.

However, it is short-sighted of both that they consider the Social Democrats (CSSD) their main foe, as if there did not exist the ANO movement as a new strong rival embracing the centre and a part of the right wing of the political spectrum, Pesek says.

In spite of the nonaggression pact, a big gap is yawning between TOP 09 and the ODS, in terms of their programme priorities, such as their relation to Brussels and to the euro, and mainly in terms of personal animosities, Pesek writes.

Moreover, each of the two parties is simultaneously seeking allies elsewhere. The ODS may be attracted by cooperation with the [relatively popular extra-parliamentary] Free Citizens´ Party (SSO), while TOP 09 is eyeing its traditional ally, the "more and more disobedient" Mayors and Independents (STAN) movement, Pesek writes.

Elsewhere in Lidove noviny (LN), Petr Kambersky says that the Social Democrat (CSSD) ministers, for example Milan Chovanec (interior) and Marcel Chladek (education), but mainly Labour and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksova Tominova, count with generous pay and welfare increases in their respective sectors, which will probably be opposed by Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO).

Only few are willing to admit that ANO´s economic programme, presented ahead of last October´s general election, went counter to the CSSD´s and was compatible with the programme promoted by the right-wing opposition TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats (ODS), which eventually ended in opposition, Kambersky writes.

ANO wanted to save money, it promoted private pension accounts, did not want to abolish patients´ fees for hospitalisation, and it mainly did not want to raise taxes, Kambersky says.

The CSSD seeks just the opposite, he points out.

The present cabinet of the CSSD, ANO and the small partner Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) is the most incoherent the Czech Republic has ever had. The coalition partners´ only common denominator is their hatred towards [TOP 09 deputy head and former finance minister] Miroslav Kalousek and their "fight against corruption" motto. How long will the coalition survive? Kambersky asks in conclusion.

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