Czech PM Babiš says government with Communists, far right a last resort

Andrej Babiš is attempting to obtain a parliamentary majority. (Reuters pic)

PRAGUE: Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said forming a government with two fringe parties – one anti-NATO and the other anti-EU – was a last resort he would not fall back on without explicit support from his ANO party, a newspaper reported.

Babiš won a national election in October, but the ANO lacks a parliamentary majority and he has yet to muster sufficient backing to win a confidence vote.

Talks with the Social Democrats, who led a previous coalition government that included ANO, fell apart last week, and other mainstream parties refuse to negotiate with Babis because of outstanding allegations of EU subsidy fraud – which he denies – against him.

President Miloš Zeman on Tuesday advised Babiš to negotiate instead with the far-left Communists, who want to leave the NATO defense alliance, as well as the far-right SPD party, which has called for the country to quit the European Union.

Babiš, in an interview in Thursday’s edition of daily Mladá fronta DNES, said seeking support from the Communists and SPD was currently his only option.

“And if the (ANO) movement will interpret it this way also there is nothing left to do than work with (the Communists and SPD).”

Babiš’s minority government has ruled in a caretaker capacity since it lost a confidence vote in January, and the ANO party’s leadership team is due to meet on Thursday to discuss its next steps.

Babiš, a billionaire businessman said he did not fear a backlash from abroad if his government ended up being propped up by the Communists and SPD.

“Absolutely not, that is the fiction of Czech journalists. Look at what is going on in Austria,” he told the newspaper.

The far-right Freedom Party entered Austria’s government as junior coalition partner in December.