The hot phase was started by the movement’s chairman, Andrej Babiš, at the Civic Swimming Pool in Prague. The event was only for journalists, the public had no access.
He has been campaigning in support of the ANO movement for these elections for several months now, when he goes around the republic with his caravan to meet citizens and, in addition to presenting accounts, he also presents local candidates to them at meetings.
“The next election will not be held until 2024. Citizens who are dissatisfied with this government have the opportunity to behave accordingly and take the election as a referendum on this government,” said Babiš in his opening speech.
“Those who are dissatisfied should not elect any representatives of the coalition of five to the municipal council and the Senate. Make it clear to the government, which I think should have ended a long time ago, that you do not want it by giving voice to other parties and movements,” he added.
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ANO representatives, including Babiš himself, devoted a significant part of their speeches to defining themselves against the government and criticizing its actions.
“We are changing the slogan ‘It will be better under Babiš’, everyone knows that, to what we would do if we were in government. We would have taken care of the citizens a long time ago,” said Babiš, while the slogan “Vote ours, let it be better again” was written on the caravan parked behind him.
According to him, if ANO was in the government, it would actually add money to everyone. Babiš talked about capping energy prices, but also food prices. In that case, VAT should be reduced to zero. According to Babiš, ANO would give pensioners a one-time allowance of six thousand.
“Every election is important. Even these municipal and senate elections. It will be the first report card that people will issue to this government. Today, this coalition has the House of Representatives, the Senate and the government. I believe that the people will tell them that they have had enough,” Alena Schillerová, head of the parliamentary club, encouraged the citizens.
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As the number one candidate in Prague this time, ANO nominated MP and Prague representative Patrik Nacher, who was originally supposed to be a candidate for mayor in the previous municipal elections.
But then the leadership of the movement intervened in the candidate list at the last moment and put businessman Petr Stuchlík in charge, Nacher was relegated to second place.
If elected, Nacher would like to introduce free public transport following the example of some other European cities.
“It takes someone who is consistent, doesn’t put on a show and people can trust. Someone who has experience in national politics. Someone who is on the side of consumers, customers and the people of Prague,” said Nacher, who asked for citizens’ trust in the elections.
Municipal elections for city and village councils are held on Friday, September 23 and Saturday, September 24. In parallel with them, senate elections will take place in some districts these days.