The dispute was sparked around 5:30 in the morning by the chairwoman of the ANO deputies, Alena Schillerová. She requested on behalf of the YES club that all government ministers return to the hall. She reminded that the same demand was made by the current government coalition – then in opposition – in the last election period to the former government of Andrej Babiš (ANO).
But the coalition referred to a resolution from 1996, according to which members of the government should be present only when the government asks for a vote of confidence, not when the opposition expresses no confidence in it. And Schiller immediately criticized it.
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“When you are in the opposition, we have to sit here because here you shout hysterically that this is our duty, that this is contempt for the House and arrogance. And when you are with the government, you pull out a resolution. So that’s your policy,” she declared.
Jan Jakob, the leader of TOP 09 MPs, objected that it is the opposition, on the contrary, that goes to the edge of the rules of procedure.
“You are looking for every possible loophole in the rules of procedure to complicate the discussion of anything here. We spend nights here, it’s legitimate, but the fact that you’re obstructing almost every other point here makes the tool meaningless,” he said.
Deputies debated the interpretation of the rules of procedure for more than half an hour. There were also reservations that when ANO requests the presence of ministers, its chairman Andrej Babiš should not be absent from the hall. But Schiller defended him by saying that she was watching the meeting outside the meeting room.
Voting in sight
It is impossible to predict when the MPs could get to a vote of no confidence. Around six o’clock in the morning, 26 MPs were registered for the debate. For the time being, most of the meeting time was taken up by the speeches of deputies with preferential rights – chairmen of parties, clubs or ministers. The first duly registered rank-and-file Member of Parliament was able to participate in the discussion around half past three in the morning.
This time, however, the coalition chose a different course of action. He responds immediately to criticism and comments on the objections of opposition MPs, which prolongs the discussion and delays the vote. According to the chairman of the KDU-ČSL deputies, Marek Výborný, the opposition is only using time and space for an election campaign.
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“It is absolutely obvious that we have three weeks before the elections. Those performances are nothing more than pre-election rhetorical exercises of the opposition, so that is what needs to be done. The meeting probably wouldn’t have happened at all if there hadn’t been an election. The opposition has a sacred right to do so, and we have the right, and we will also do it through the mouth of the prime minister and ministers to remind the citizens again what the government has done in those nine months.”
The opposition called for a vote of no confidence in the government due to the Dosimeter case and its possible connection with the head of civil intelligence, Petr Mlejenko.
However, ANO and SPD also criticize the government’s progress in measures against high energy prices. According to Radim Fiala, the head of MPs of the SPD opposition movement, the coalition is not helping people with the effects of price increases.
“People ask us on the street how to do it, especially seniors who no longer have a partner, to share the financial demands on energy. And they say: ‘We received bills for 15,000 and I have a pension of 14,500. What should I do?’ That is a question for the coalition of five and the Prime Minister. You said you would help them.“
But the government rejects the criticism. The ministers, on the other hand, comprehensively defended their actions during their nine months in office at the plenary session.
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