New Czech government in jeopardy over foreign minister nomination

By REUTERS
June 17, 2018 17:02
1 minute read.
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PRAGUE - The Czech Communist party will withhold support from the country's next government if the social democrats stick to their nominee for the post of foreign minister, Communist leader Vojtech Filip said on Sunday.

The government being created by Prime Minister Andrej Babis's ANO party and the Social Democrat party (CSSD) would lack a majority in parliament and therefore lean on the far-left, pro-Russian Communists in a confidence vote.

Babis, who is being investigated by police over the alleged abuse of a 2 million euro ($2.3 million) EU subsidy a decade ago, has struggled to find anyone to team up with him in power since his party won nearly 30 percent of the vote last October.

He has denied any wrongdoing and dismissed the inquiry as a plot against him.

The CSSD has nominated Miroslav Poche, a member of the European Parliament, for the top diplomatic job, drawing strong criticism from President Milos Zeman, who appoints ministers.

Filip said that with Poche nominated, the Communists would not tolerate the government.

"I said it frankly, that he is an untrustworthy person and that we don't want untrustworthy people (in government)," Filip said in a debate aired by public Czech television.

The Social Democratic party unveiled the results of its internal vote on Friday, in which a majority of its members supported joining a coalition with the dominant centrist ANO, a major step towards ending more than eight months of stalemate after an inconclusive election.

ANO leader Babis is meeting President Zeman on Sunday and has said he would present him ministerial nominations, including Poche and the other picks by the Social Democrats.

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