Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) seems to have resigned himself to an opposition role and will not attempt to form a minority government. President Miloš Zeman may have already been informed of his intention. Petr Fiala, the leader of the Together coalition and head of the ODS party, will take over the leading role in forming the government.
Although the Prime Minister refused on Thursday to fully disclose whether he would accept Zeman’s possible mandate to negotiate with the government, citing that he would tell the president first, he did say: “I will normally work until the last moment before I hand over the post to Mr. Fiala.”
Zeman has called a session of the new House of Representatives resulting from the elections since November 8, the last day of the 30 days after the elections given by the Constitution. The announcement with the president’s signature arrived from the Castle on Thursday to the speaker of the outgoing House, Radek Vondráček (ANO), after his Thursday meeting with Chancellor Vratislav Mynář.
Vondráček, therefore, wants to convene a constituent meeting of the newly elected MPs on November 8, which is his prerogative. Babiš’s cabinet will resign only after the meeting is over.
According to Babiš, the date of the chamber meeting is nothing new, as the president has made full use of the 30-day deadline in the past. If he had not done so, the MPs would have met on the 30th day after the elections anyway.
Waiting for the five-coalition
The term of the current lower house will end at midnight on October 20. According to Vondráček, the nineteen-day delay between the old and new chambers is not a disadvantage because there is still no agreement on what the parliamentary bodies will look like.
“We still need time. We will do everything we can to make sure everything is ready. We are waiting for the five coalitions too. The party is arguing among itself,” Vondráček pointed out.
The Together coalition and the Pirates and Mayors coalition have already announced that they want a coalition agreement and a program statement ready by the constituent assembly meeting. They also want to conclude the debate on parliamentary functions and the division of the government.
Vondráček said the ANO movement wants to consistently maintain proportional representation in the leadership of the parliamentary bodies. “If there is a marginal situation, we want our club to be respected as the largest,” he said, stressing that ANO will fight for its positions. According to their calculations, ANO is entitled to the leadership of seven critical committees.
“We are going into the negotiations with the fact that we have 36 percent of the seats (72 MPs out of 200),” he recalled.