Fial’s government was held up by a vote of no confidence in the lower house. Deputies deliberated for over 22 hours iRADIO

The government of Prime Minister Petr Fiala from ODS passed the first ever vote of no confidence on Friday. According to calculations by the iROZHLAS.cz server, 84 deputies voted for the proposal, 100 legislators were against, and 16 people were absent. The opposition ANO and SPD called for the vote. They blame the government for the Dosimeter corruption case and also, according to them, for the insufficient fight against high energy prices. Deputies acted from 1 p.m. on Thursday.



Updated
Prague
6:33 am 9/2/2022 (Updated: 11:25 9/2/2022)

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A vote was taken by name on the proposal: “The Chamber of Deputies expresses no confidence in the government.” In order for the cabinet to fall, a majority of all deputies, i.e. at least 101, would have to vote for no confidence. In the end, there were 84 in favor of them. The opposition ANO and SPD have a full lineup 92 votes.

Deputies deliberated for over 22 hours, the last speaker was Alena Schillerová, chairperson of ANO deputies at the lectern. The debate dragged on due to the morning’s arguments about the rules of procedure.

The controversy was sparked by Schiller at around 5:30 in the morning, when she requested on behalf of the ANO 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 against 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.

Babiš later said: “It’s not my job to sit here. My job is to do things for the people… When Alenka Schillerová orders me, she is the boss, she says: ‘You have to be in the Chamber of Deputies.’ So here I am.”

“Orbán is the Hungarian Václav Havel,” Babiš compared the Hungarian prime minister to the Czechoslovak and Czech presidents.

The Chamber of Deputies in the early hours of the morning. | Photo: René Volfík | Source: iROZHLAS.cz

Voting in sight

Around six o’clock in the morning, 26 more MPs were registered for the debate. The majority of the meeting time was taken up by the speeches of members of parliament 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.

The Chamber of Deputies in the early hours of the morning. | Photo: René Volfík | Source: iROZHLAS.cz

Katerina Součková

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