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Czech ANO party says may get finance ministry in new government
November 23, 2013 / 3:00 PM / 4 years ago

Czech ANO party says may get finance ministry in new government

PRAGUE, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Czech centrist party ANO, which surged in polls to second place in an October election, will likely nominate the next finance minister as part of an expected coalition deal with the leftist Social Democrats, party leaders said on Saturday.

The agreement will give the anti-corruption movement ANO, founded by billionaire businessman Andrej Babis in 2011, a bigger say over the budget, spending and borrowing and may temper many of the Social Democrats’ plans.

Babis did not put forward a name for the finance minister job after holding talks with Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka. Media have reported the party could turn to Raiffeisenbank economist Ales Michl, its top economic adviser.

“Social Democrats have accepted today, that ANO will get the Finance Ministry, if an agreement on a coalition government is reached,” Babis told journalists after the meeting.

The Social Democrats will put forward the new speaker of the lower house of Parliament as part of the deal. This position enables its holder for example to take part in government creation.

The two parties are looking to form a coalition along with the Christian Democrats but have clashed mainly over taxation.

The Social Democrats want a higher corporate rate, especially for big banks, utilities and telecoms companies. However, ANO has opposed tax increases and wants to focus on cutting government fat.

The two leaders said they had reached an agreement on tax policy but Sobotka said they would only release details once they agree with the Christian Democrats at talks starting on Monday. Sobotka wants to present a government led by him by the end of the year.

The Social Democrats eked out only a slim victory in the Czech election on Oct. 25-26, dashing the party’s hopes of creating a minority cabinet supported by the Communist party, which took third place in the vote.

Seven parties won seats in the election, the most in two decades. ANO had wanted to stay out of government but its surprise strong showing at the poll forced it into a kingmaker role.

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