Can Babiš break the SPOLU coalition?

Bernadett Szabo, Reuters

Even though the SPOLU coalition won the election and signed a cooperation agreement with the Pirates and STAN coalition, the Prime Minister have a chance to get permission from President Miloš Zeman to form a government. Is this scenario realistic?

Zeman has previously stated that he will entrust the formation of the government to the leader of the strongest party, not the coalition, thus implying that he was counting on Babiš. However, if this was not just a stalling tactic and Babiš was looking for a potential coalition partner, he would have had a challenging time.

The coalitions of SPOLU and PirSTAN have already declared their post-election cooperation and hold a 108-vote majority in the lower chamber. Furthermore, they have made it clear that they will not negotiate for the government with any other party. ANO would have just 92 legislators in cooperation with the SPD, which also entered the lower house.

If Babiš succeeds in breaking their proclaimed post-election unity, or if the coalition parties fall out by themselves, he could form a government with individual coalition MPs. Babiš would gain a majority in the lower house with 72 ANO MPs if he collaborated with ODS, which has 34 members, or STAN, which has 33 seats. Both parties have previously rejected teaming up with ANO, but Babiš stated immediately after the results were announced that he wanted to negotiate with the SPOLU coalition. The previous ANO administration was created with the support of the ČSSD, which did not make it into the lower chamber this time.

If President Zeman decides to entrust the leader of the winning SPOLU coalition, Petr Fiala (ODS), with the task of forming a new government, the negotiation will continue successfully.