ANO representatives previously promised that they would not attempt to express no confidence in the government during the Czech presidency of the Council of the European Union. However, according to the leader of the movement and former prime minister Andrej Babiš, the situation has changed. Fiala responded that Babiš was trying to cover up his own problems. The accused ANO chairman objected to this and said that he was looking forward to the trial in the Čapí hnízdo subsidy case.
Opposition criticism of the government
Defendant Babiš said that he was looking forward to the trial in the Čapí hnízdo subsidy case. He starts in ten days. “Finally, everyone will learn how it works in our country, the multi-track cartel, prosecutions to order,” he declared. He again called the case a lie. “We met because you are a totally incompetent government,” emphasized Babiš. After him, a few more speakers want to speak, for example SPD chairman Tomio Okamura.
Ordinary MPs without priority speaking rights were allowed to speak only after more than 13.5 hours from the start of the meeting on Thursday. Before that, in addition to the opposition leaders, some of the ministers also spoke. They talked about their steps so far and plans for the future.
Opposition speeches mainly concern the energy crisis, price increases or affairs surrounding the STAN coalition movement. One of the shortest contributions came from the mouth of Milan Brázdil (ANO). “You ministers who go against the people of this country, you treasonous government, you have not received my trust and you will not receive it,” he declared.
The former speaker of the House of Representatives, Radek Vondráček (ANO), believes that the representatives of the coalition have themselves to blame for the vote of no confidence. He pointed out that the government camp did not allow the holding of extraordinary meetings on STAN cases and solutions to high energy prices. “You only know how to roll,” he told the coalition.
Fial’s government is facing a no-confidence motion. Babiš: He is a national disaster
Another ANO deputy, Marek Novák, characterized the policy of Fial’s cabinet as vague proclamations, endless analyzing and sending signals. “You completely ignore the cases that threaten the security of the state,” he said in connection with the affair surrounding the contacts of the already former director of civil intelligence, Petr Mlejenko, with Michal Redl, who is being prosecuted in the Prague Dozimetr corruption case. Novák also stated that arrogance has blinded the government so much that it is unable to even perceive ordinary citizens.
Radek Koten from the SPD stated that the government is only slandering those countries that have successfully resolved the energy crisis. According to him, it is itself unsuccessful and without hope of success, because there is no European solution to high energy prices. “You are the ones who generate enormous profits for the Russian Federation from the sale of gas and actually support them, in an enormous way, and you claim the exact opposite,” he added.
According to Karla Maříková (SPD), the government could have put a ceiling on energy prices or reduced the value-added tax, when experts had predicted price increases since January. “Everyone in our country is rapidly becoming poorer under your rule,” she said. Maříková called Fiala the weakest prime minister since the fall of socialism. Jan Síla (SPD) warned that instead of prosperity, the Czechia will experience real poverty. “If the nation does not recover and say goodbye to the dictates of this government controlled from Brussels, we will witness the liquidation of the economy of the Czech Republic,” he declared. According to Vladimíra Lesenská (SPD), the cabinet is still convincing of its incompetence to actually help people and to communicate with them in a comprehensible and non-contemptuous way. “You are counting on some miracle, which will not come,” said another SPD deputy, Jan Hrnčíř.
Due to the parliamentary coalition majority, it was likely from the beginning that the cabinet would not lose the confidence of the lower house. In order for the cabinet to fall, a majority of all MPs must vote for no confidence, i.e. at least 101. The opposition ANO and SPD have 92 votes in full.
At first, the ministers dominated the debate
The debate from Thursday evening until two hours after midnight was dominated by ministers to present their steps and plans so far. Opposition MPs called it obstruction, and some, such as Berenika Peštová (ANO), withdrew their application for the debate. Ordinary MPs without priority speaking rights did not get to the prepared speeches until 02:35 today, 34 of them remained registered for the debate.
The ministers also used the opportunity to speak to reject the opposition’s accusations and distance themselves from the approach of members of the former government of Andrej Babiš (ANO). Minister for European Affairs Mikuláš Bek (STAN) highlighted the current perception of the Czech Republic abroad.
“From the position of an outsider on the European periphery, where it became a satellite of Orbán’s illiberal democracy in the past years as a result of an unresolved conflict of interests, a non-solidarity approach to the problems of other countries and turning a blind eye to violations of the principles of the rule of law, the Czech Republic managed to return to the mainstream of European politics ,” said Bek.
Transport Minister Martin Kupka (ODS) pointed out, among other things, the indebtedness of the Czech Railways in the tens of billions of crowns or the unresolved railway land. He also stated that the pace of preparation of transport constructions is accelerating under the current government, and the cabinet will also make an effort to secure money so that construction is carried out at the same pace. Former Transport Minister Karel Havlíček (ANO) objected that his successor did not have a third of the planned expenses covered in the budget.
The head of civil intelligence, Petr Mlejnek, is resigning. He faced criticism for his dealings with Redl
Minister of Culture Martin Baxa (ODS) rejected accusations that he would try to control the public media. According to Baxa, the majority in the pre-election House of Representatives had this ambition. The minister also criticized the closure of cultural institutions due to the covid-19 epidemic. During the government of Babiš, culture was Cinderella, probably because it is associated with values that the former Prime Minister does not recognize, Baxa added.
According to the leader of the Pirates and Minister for Regional Development Ivan Bartoš, the opposition has prioritized the desire for media outlets over work for citizens, which some opposition MPs swear by. He recalled that previously, the opposition needed a day to criticize the government and the House to vote. The Minister for Legislation, Michal Šalamoun (for the Pirates), subsequently pointed out that the House of Representatives should hurry up with the adoption of laws according to European regulations because of the sanctions.
Minister of Agriculture Zdeněk Nekula (KDU-ČSL) received applause for the information that people are interested in firewood from state forests and that they have so far bought 28,000 cubic meters of logs from forest warehouses and 191,000 cubic meters as part of so-called self-production. The Minister of the Environment, Anna Hubáčková (KDU-ČSL), started a verbal firefight with the deputies over the planned Křivoklátsko National Park. The chairman of the agricultural committee, Michal Kučera (TOP 09), described the resistance of local governments against his announcement as a mistake by former environment minister Richard Brabec (ANO). Brabec objected that the park was not originally supported by the Central Bohemian Region.