Fiala and Babiš clash as Czech parliament votes on no confidence in the government

Former Czech Prime Minister and current opposition leader Andrej Babiš speaks in the Chamber of Deputies, Thursday, Sep. 1, 2022. (AndrejBabis/Facebook)
By M B
5 Min Read

Former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš called the coalition government of Petr Fiala a national disaster. At the beginning of Thursday’s meeting, called by the opposition to express no confidence in the government, Babiš warned about the threat that the energy sector may collapse and social unrest.

The ANO movement leader accused the government of lying when it said it would stop inflation and debt, as well as when it vowed to solve the energy crisis and assured people there would be sufficient gas. Fiala said he felt embarrassed for Babiš, who repeatedly contradicted himself or ignored his previous actions during the speech.

“The Czech Republic faces an energy armageddon, a total collapse of the economy, and widespread social unrest,” declared Babiš. The meeting was convened at the initiative of ANO and Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) deputies. The ANO leader called on the cabinet to stop meeting and start doing something.

“With your government, Mr. Prime Minister, our country has no future,” claimed Babiš. According to him, due to the incompetence and helplessness of Fiala’s cabinet, there is a risk of the country being run into the ground.

Babiš also stated that the government built its entire political career “on inactivity and lies,” and, according to him, only works from Tuesday to Thursday.

“You are trying to mask your inaction and incompetence by using Babiš and the previous government as excuses,” Babiš said. He also targeted some ministers. For example, according to Babiš, Minister of the Interior Vít Rakušan of the Mayors and Independents (STAN) is corrupt, and Minister of Industry and Trade Jozef Síkela (for STAN) is, according to Babiš, “an arrogant undertaker of the Czech economy.”

“The more you fear getting out of Prague, the more you give princely advice,” Babiš told the government. “Today’s disastrous situation is the result of your governance.”

Fiala accuses Babiš of trying to seize power

Prime Minister Fiala then told Babiš that Babiš himself does not attend the Chamber of Deputies, often refuses to participate in voting, and wants to cover up his problems and make a name for himself before the municipal elections by casting a vote of no confidence. He thanked Babiš for arriving this time and for not delivering his speech in some city square — Babiš often travels around the republic with his caravan instead of being present in the Chamber of Deputies.

Among other things, Babiš talked about the fact that Fiala went on vacation in the middle of the energy crisis. Fiala reminded Babiš that he did the same thing in the summer of 2020 in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, when he, as prime minister, called on citizens not to go anywhere.

“I feel bad for you,” Fiala said, stating that much of Babiš’s speech was just a bunch of nonsense. At the same time, the prime minister accused Babiš of breaking his promise not to call for a vote of no confidence while Czechia is the EU president. “You are about subversion, about seizing power at any cost,” Fiala said.

Babiš highlighted the activities of his cabinet and rejected claims that he appointed his people to the state administration. On the contrary, he accused the current government parties of creating such structures.

“You ordered that I be prosecuted,” Babiš declared, He will stand trial in the “Čapí hnízdo” subsidy case in two weeks.

Due to the parliamentary coalition majority, the cabinet will likely not lose the confidence of the lower house. For the cabinet to fall, a majority of all MPs, at least 101, must vote for no confidence. The opposition ANO and SPD have 92 votes.

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