Coalition Tensions: STAN Party Puzzled Over Conciliation Proceedings

Kateřina Šulová

The top echelons of the coalition are due to meet to discuss pressing issues causing rifts within the government. The tipping point for this meeting was the move by Minister for European Affairs Martin Dvořák (STAN), who appointed economist Petr Zahradník as the plenipotentiary for the euro’s introduction, allegedly without the knowledge of other government members.

The coalition has a host of more contentious issues it aims to resolve. “We want to clear the table,” said Klára Kocmanová, the first Deputy Chair of the Pirate Party. The Pirates, for example, are upset that they still do not have their representatives on the supervisory boards of some state bodies.

The coalition parties are also uncomfortable with the activities of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Vít Rakušan (STAN). He has previously attracted criticism for his video, in which he distanced himself from the government’s communication. His debates in the regions, perceived as an election campaign, are also unpopular with his coalition partners. “Undermining the coalition because of the next elections won’t bring anything good in the long run,” said Kocmanová.

The STAN Deputy Chair, Michaela Šebelová, told Novinky and Právo that the Mayors do not understand why Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) even called the meeting. “We did nothing that would warrant a conciliation proceeding,” said Šebelová. “Minister Dvořák appointed Mr. Zahradník as the plenipotentiary for the euro so that his word would carry more weight. He could appoint him without the government’s consent; we have already had such a plenipotentiary. It is not a coordinator for the euro’s adoption, it is someone who should return a cultured debate about the euro into play, because we feel that this discussion has frozen,” said the deputy chair of the party.

The Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies and TOP 09, Markéta Pekarová Adamová, reiterated on Tuesday that she does not want coalition quarrels to lead to early elections and the rise of populists, as happened in Slovakia. “Sometimes a bigger problem can pile up on a small thing like a snowball. We want to prevent that in time,” she said. She did not want to anticipate how the discussion would develop. According to some speculations, coalition parties could push for Dvořák’s dismissal. “If something like that happens, we’ll stand behind him because he’s an excellent minister,” said Šebelová.