President of the ANO club Alena Schillerová spoke at a meeting of the Chamber of Deputies, February 10, 2023, Prague.
Prague – Efforts by opposition MPs from the ANO and SPD movements to change the program of today's last session of the House of Commons took more than 3.5 hours even with voting. The lower house, with a coalition majority, rejected all their proposals. Considering the progress of the opposition today, the House of Representatives will most likely not even begin to approve the controversial government bill on changing the selection of members of the boards of Czech Television and Czech Radio, as planned by the government camp. The MPs will probably only discuss the government's proposal to adjust support for refugees from Ukraine, which is in the second reading.
Representatives of the ANO opposition movement explained the number of proposals to change the program of the meeting by the absence of a number of ministers during regular Thursday interpellations. On Thursday, the ministers of finance Zbyněk Stanjura (ODS), for local development Ivan Bartoš and for foreign affairs Jan Lipavský (both Pirates) answered the questions of the deputies. Other members of the government apologized, including Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS), who was at an extraordinary meeting of the European Council in Brussels.
Deputy Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Klára Dostálová (ANO) stated that ANO MPs wanted to listen to the calls of the coalition and keep their topics for interpellation. “We really tried, but unfortunately we spoke to an empty hall,” she said. ANO club chairwoman Alena Schillerová also pointed out that Thursday's interpellations were mainly behind the proposals of her party colleagues to include new items on the agenda. “That's the one and only reason,” she said. He believes that the speaker of the House of Representatives, Markéta Pekarová Adamová (TOP 09), will ask members of the government to go to the interpellations.
The Chamber passed four dozen votes on the opposition's proposals for adjusting the agenda of the meeting. For example, SPD chairman Tomio Okamura promoted a dozen extraordinary points. In addition to the economic situation, he wanted to address the alleged introduction of censorship or the mention of the SPD in the Ministry of the Interior's report on extremism, which he described as a desperate attempt by the government coalition to lure away the voter movement. “Our voter is intelligent and knows what and how,” said Okamura. “You are normally a sleazy government,” he said of the intention to limit the speaking time limits of MPs by law. He criticized the government both for putting the Czech Republic in debt and for not wanting to regulate the prices of food and energy, thereby securing budget revenues.
The opposition proceeded in the same way as today on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday, the Chamber dealt with a pair of proposals. On Wednesday, ANO blocked the approval of the tightening of the provisions of the conflict of interest law known as the lex Babiš, and the lower house did not discuss anything. On Thursday, in the opening round, deputies discussed two government drafts related to military legislation.
Today, if there is time left, the Chamber should, in addition to discussing amendments to the “lex Ukraine”, approve changes in the information obligation of collective investment funds. The approval of the proposed changes in the election of television and radio councilors, which provoke resistance from both ANO and SPD, will probably await the House of Representatives until the next meeting in the second half of February. Opposition MPs consider the adjustments to be expedient and blame the government camp for trying to control a pair of public media. Coalition politicians, on the other hand, claim that the aim of the amendment is to strengthen their resilience.