Czech PM risks censorship defeat, President emboldened
PRAGUE, June 1 (Reuters) – The center-left Czech government faces potential defeat in a no-confidence motion on Thursday, a vote that could keep the prime minister in office until the October elections but transfer political power to the pros of the country. -Russian President.
The opposition accuses Prime Minister Andrej Babis of dropping the country into the coronavirus pandemic and breaking conflict of interest rules regarding his control of trust funds linked to his business empire.
The country suffered one of the worst per capita death rates in the world during the pandemic.
Opposition MPs filed a formal request for a vote on Tuesday.
“One of the reasons for denying the trust is the confirmed conflict of interest,” said Ivan Bartos, chairman of the opposition pirate party, referring to a European Commission audit of the trust funds holding the old empire Babis commercial.
The key to the vote is that Babis could lose the support of the Communist Party, which has long backed his minority bipartisan cabinet in a tactic that gave the prime minister a majority in return for political concessions.
Communist President Vojtech Filip said the government had “completely failed” on foreign policy. He said the government erred in blaming Russia for an arms depot explosion in 2014 and banning Belarusian airline after opposition blogger was snatched from forced plane to land in Minsk.
A loss would mean Babis has to resign, but remains in office in a guardian role. Zeman said given the short lead-time to the election, he would keep Babis in power, which analysts said would put Zeman on the cabinet.
“Despite (the government) having the same outward appearance, the president would be able to change the government with one stroke of the pencil,” political scientist Petr Just said.
Babis had a good relationship with Zeman, but they diverged over establishing a closer relationship with China and Russia, which Zeman promoted. A key issue in this regard is the planned construction of a nuclear power plant by the state-controlled CEZ utility. (Report by Robert Muller, edited by Jan Lopatka, William Maclean)