Czech Communists Vote to Withdraw Support for PM Babis’s Government

The Czech Communist Party’s leadership has voted to withdraw support for the minority cabinet led by Prime Minister Andrej Babis, two senior party sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

The vote means that Babis’s coalition government loses its parliamentary majority six months ahead of an election but does not pose an immediate threat to its survival.

The Communists are not formally part of the ruling coalition but have lent it their support in parliament. With the election looming, they have sought to distance themselves from the cabinet, which has refused to back some of their requests, such as a reduction in military spending.

A spokeswoman for the Communist Party said that chairman Vojtech Filip would meet Babis on Wednesday to discuss their future relationship.

Even if Communist lawmakers support any future vote of no-confidence, the coalition – comprising Babis’s ANO party and the Social Democrats – might still survive as opposition parties have spoken against toppling it so near to an election.

They also fear such a move would hand power to President Milos Zeman to appoint a new government.

Zeman wants to speed up a tender for a new nuclear power station and says Russia should be invited to take part, despite protests from the Czech security services and the centre-right opposition.

Opposition leaders have said they fear Zeman may repeat his action of 2013, when he appointed a government of his allies which ruled for half a year without the consent of parliament.

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