Monday, 23 October 2017

Farský: STAN shuns undemocratic parties such as ANO

ČTK |
13 October 2017

Prague, Oct 12 (CTK) - The Czech opposition Mayors and Independents (STAN) are ready to cooperate with the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) after the upcoming elections, but they rule out cooperation with undemocratic parties such as Andrej Babis's ANO movement, STAN election leader Jan Farsky told CTK on Thursday.

He also mentioned the Communists (KSCM), the strongest opposition party, and Tomio Okamura's Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) movement among the undemocratic entities with which STAN would by no means cooperate.

Farsky said he wants STAN to gain 7 percent of the vote at least in the October 20-21 election. A 10-percent gain would be a brilliant and quite unexpected success, he said.

In the previous elections, STAN candidates ran on the lists of the conservative TOP 09 party, with which it entered parliament. They terminated their cooperation last year.

Farsky said STAN's priorities are support for education for the Czech Republic to become more than a mere "assembly plant," to become a safer country capable of tackling fake news and disinformation, and for Czechs to have more courage, know the world and less fear of the unknown.

STAN considers the school sector underfinanced. It wants teachers' pay and head teachers' powers to rise and the paperwork to decrease, Farsky said.

He said a condition of STAN's participation in the next government is that the government keeps the country's pro-European course and NATO membership.

If elected to the Chamber of Deputies, STAN would push for an amendment to the 2018 budget bill, since its current version has been prepared by the outgoing government and too strongly influenced by the nearing elections, Farsky said.

Furthermore, STAN calls for measures to prevent massive and chaotic passing of often unnecessary pieces of legislation by parliament, he said.

Farsky said he is satisfied with STAN's election campaign so far, though STAN had to prepare it hastily a few days after the collapse of its previous project of an election coalition with the KDU-CSL in summer.

The KDU-CSL decided to withdraw from the project in fear that the STAN/KDU-CSL tandem might not cross the 10 percent threshold required for a two-party coalition to enter the Chamber of Deputies.

Farsky said STAN wants to support steps leading to the Czech adoption of the euro.

He wants the euro to be introduced as quickly as possible if it is a condition for countries to join the hard core of the EU.

"It will take us three to four years anyway before we definitively decide on whether to adopt the euro anyway," Farsky said, adding that the first necessary step is the joining of the European exchange rates mechanism (ERM II), an inter-stage before the euro introduction.

Referring to the ANO movement, a part of the outgoing government, Farsky said it has shown its incapability of self-reflection and a shortage of an internal democratic discussion.

The shortage became evident in early September when the Chamber of Deputies released Babis and ANO deputy head Jaroslav Faltynek for criminal prosecution over a suspected subsidy fraud. ANO deputies walked out of the conference room before the vote, Farsky said.

"Instead of expressing a democratic opinion, they left the room, since there is really no democracy [in ANO]," Farsky said.

He mentioned ANO's February decision to amend its statutes in a way enabling the chairman to delete election candidates, add new names and change candidates' positions on the party's lists of candidates on his own.

"Until October 18 or 19, Andrej Babis can delete anyone from ANO's list. That is why all [in ANO] keep so silent. He who would be heard, faces the risk of losing his position [as ANO's election candidate]," Farsky said.

The amended statutes totally suppressed an internal debate in ANO and liquidated opponent views, Farsky said, adding that great values cannot emerge but from a debate.

He said he can see no difference in the next government including ANO with Babis or without Babis.

"ANO is Babis...it does not exist without Babis," he said.

He also criticised ANO's lash outs at the police and state attorneys in connection with the prosecution they launched against Babis and Faltynek.

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