Saturday, 16 December 2017

ANO to ask KSČM for another candidate for GIBS commission head

ČTK |
5 December 2017

Prague, Dec 4 (CTK) - The Czech election-winning ANO will ask the Communists (KSCM) to consider nominating someone else for head of the lower house commission supervising the General Inspection of Security Corps (GIBS) instead of Zdenek Ondracek, ANO chairman Andrej Babis told CTK on Monday.

Babis, who reacted to a call by presidential candidate Michal Horacek, said he considered Ondracek's nomination problematic.

The KSCM deputy group will assess ANO's request for changing its nominee for the GIBS commission head on Tuesday, KSCM chairman Vojtech Filip said.

Horacek asked Babis in a letter to use his political influence to prevent the election of Ondracek, a former police and a member of the riot police unit, who took part in a crackdown on anti-Communist demonstrators in 1989.

"I have handed Mr Horacek's letter to [ANO deputies' group head Jaroslav] Faltynek whom I asked to meet the KSCM negotiators and ask them to consider nominating another KSCM candidate to the head of this lower house commission," Babis told CTK.

The post-election negotiations in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament, are led by Faltynek who also struck a deal about the division of posts with parties in parliament, Babis said.

However, particular names are not part of this agreement, it is up to the respective parties and their responsibility whom they will nominate, Babis added.

He said he had asked Faltynek to meet the Communists to debate this issue and ask them to consider nominating someone else.

In his letter, Horacek admitted that ANO as the winner of the October general election had the right to form a government and that the talks and seeking compromises within them were complicated.

However, he questioned the nomination of Ondracek who he said "was a direct protagonist of the repressions applied in the interest of the totalitarian power and the invaders of our country." That is why he called on Babis not to allow Ondracek's election.

Horacek also asked other presidential candidates for support in this matter.

Addressed by CTK, presidential candidates Pavel Fischer, Marek Hilser, Vratislav Kulhanek and Mirek Topolanek said they were against a former communist police officer being elected as head of the lower house commission for GIBS.

KSCM chairman Filip called Horacek's appeal a part of Horacek's campaign ahead of the January direct presidential election.

"He should rather think about his own past dating back before the 1989 fall of the communist regime," Filip told CTK, referring to Horacek.

He said he views ANO as a relevant partner for negotiations.

Vit Rakusan (Mayors and Independents, STAN), member of the Chamber of Deputies security committee, reacted to Babis's statement.

"It will come out at the plenary session whether the ANO movement really means it. We can certainly still take a stance on it during the vote on the commissions' heads," Rakusan told CTK.

The whole Chamber of Deputies elects the commissions' chairpersons in a secret ballot, he said, pointing to the cooperation of ANO, the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) and the Communists in the Chamber of Deputies in previous votes.

Rakusan also said he would consider Ondracek at the GIBS commission's helm unacceptable.

According to Jana Cernochova (Civic Democrats, ODS) another member of the security committee, Ondracek as the commission's head would mean the confirmation of the return of the pre-1989 power structures and their rising influence.

"Owing to Andrej Babis, the Communists' position is the strongest in the post-communist era now, in spite of their weakest result in the October general election," Cernochova wrote to CTK, alluding to what critics call a latent alliance of ANO, which has formed a minority government, the KSCM and Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) in the lower house.

According to Cernochova, the commissions supervising security bodies should be headed by the opposition, not by a party of a latent government coalition.

Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) deputies' group chairman Jan Bartosek said the commission for GIBS might become another lower house body headed by a representative of an undemocratic party, after the security committee headed by the SPD's Radek Koten.

"For us, this means the need to permanently ask questions, verify things and be on alert, since neither of the two conceal their inclination to a restriction of human rights and thinking," Bartosek said, referring to Ondracek and Koten.

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