New Czech government takes office
Eight months after the elections a second government under billionaire Andrej Babiš has been sworn in in Prague. The cabinet comprising members from the liberal Ano and the Social Democratic Party relies on the backing of the Communist Party. Commentators feel reminded of the past.
A Kafkaesque cabinet
Lidové noviny is surprised that the immensely wealthy Babiš is now heading a government that promises widespread social benefits, commenting wryly:
“The second-richest Czech, Andrej Babiš, is the head of a government that couldn't be more left-wing. The former entrepreneur is leading a cabinet whose goal is to create as much equality as possible. Social security and higher pay are the top priorities. By the looks of things a brand of socialism with a human face is making a comeback - like in 1968 with the Prague Spring. Kafkaesque. Polls show that nine out of ten Czechs already are happy or very happy. The government plans to enhance this with higher pensions and free train travel for pensioners and children. All that's missing is the loans young married couples used to receive. But something similar is already in planning.”
Day for appointment of government ill-chosen
Like the conservative opposition, Aktuálně.cz also finds it disturbing that the first government since 1989 that needs the support of the communists was appointed on the very day that the victims of communism are commemorated:
“This date is highly symbolic. It shows where we've wound up after 29 years. June 27 commemorates the year 1950, when resistance fighter Milada Horaková was executed at the end of a political trial. By the communists. Naming a communist-backed government on this day is in poor taste and cynical. It should set off all the alarms. With this move the government has disqualified itself as the bearer of the nation's memory.”