Czech government has not yet won the confidence vote after hours of tense negotiations

The SPD and ANO movements announced they will not express confidence in the current government

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Anna Kottová
Czech Republic's Prime Minister Petr Fiala stands at the speaker's desk as he addresses lawmakers during a parliament session in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

The Czech government has not yet won the Chamber of Deputies’ confidence vote. The session was suspended after 22 hours and will continue on Thursday evening after opposition MPs criticized various parts of the government’s program statement.

The debate on the request to express confidence in the government, consisting of ODS, TOP 09, KDU-ČSL, STAN, and Pirates, began on Wednesday morning and continued throughout the night. On Thursday morning, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Markéta Pekarová Adamová, suspended the session based on an agreement between the parliamentary clubs and a request from the opposition SPD (Freedom and Direct Democracy).

SPD Chairman Tomio Okamura justified the request by saying that a special meeting, convened at the initiative of ANO and SPD deputies, should take place first to address the financing issues of the STAN.

Fiala started his speech by showing respect to MPs

“I come here as prime minister with pride and humility at the same time,” Prime Minister Petr Fiala, who was the first to speak in front of the deputies, said at the beginning of his speech on Wednesday.

He also paid respect to the Chamber of Deputies, saying he does not consider it an unnecessary or overcrowded institution or a “blabber house” as his predecessor and chairman of the ANO movement, Andrej Babiš, called it in the past.

Last Thursday, the current government approved a program statement that is the basis for the confidence vote.

“The program statement is realistic. We are not populists, and we do not want to promise anything that we are not convinced that we will be able to fulfill,” said Fiala, who spoke for about half an hour.

Former Prime Minister Babiš then took to the floor. In his speech, which lasted for about an hour and a half, he defended the steps of his government, which he described as successful. Furthermore, he announced that his ANO movement would not support the government.

“We cannot support a government that deliberately deceives citizens, promises what it can never deliver, and instead of concrete solutions, offers shabby and meaningless phrases,” he said.

The SPD movement has a similar standpoint, and according to its chairman Tomio Okamura, it will not vote for Fiala’s government either.

However, the five government parties — ODS, TOP 09, KDU-ČSL, Pirates, STAN — have a comfortable majority in the lower house, so the government is most likely to gain confidence. The government parties occupy 108 out of 200 seats. The votes of an absolute majority of the deputies present are sufficient for the government to gain confidence.

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