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New Czech Government Awaits Presidential Nod; Then What?

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New Czech Government Awaits Presidential Nod; Then What?

Keeping the show on the road

However, once these urgent issues are out of the way, likely within a couple of years in office, the danger is that the divisions between the five parties will start to emerge – albeit, the weakness of the Pirates, which won only four seats at the election, may help to keep a lid on the problems.

“It’s really more of a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ some of these difficult issues come up to challenge the coalition after a while,” says Faktor.

While Fiala has surpressed it, ODS has a staunchly eurosceptic wing. Yet Top 09 and the Pirates are keen advocates of adopting the euro. It seems likely that a compromise would see some preparations for the single currency, even if there’s little chance that the euro will replace the koruna in the next four years.

As the two junior parties start to mull their prospects for the next scheduled vote in 2025, it’s possible they’ll also think about knocking heads with the KDU-CSL and ODS over social issues such as gay marriage.

Meanwhile, the new government’s approach to the EU’s Green Deal and the energy transition is likely to be highly disappointing for the more liberal parties in the coalition, analysts suggest. While the style will change, with Babis’s bitter rhetoric against Brussels’ climate efforts condemned to the past, most predict that action will be limited and business will largely dictate policy as usual, save for a little progress in agriculture.

All of which has few betting on the new government’s future. “It doesn’t look very stable,” says Kopecek. “It’s very unclear if this cabinet will survive a whole term.”

That suggests that long-term priorities, which include desperately needed educational and pension reform as well as the digitalisation of the state, will be tricky to achieve.

Keeping these divisions on ice will depend crucially on Fiala, as the leader of both the cabinet and the party that is strongest and furthest right of the coalition.

The former university professor performed admirably during the election campaign to banish potentially problematic issues and keep the anti-Babis bandwagon on the road. Yet whether he can retain his carefully crafted image as the voice of reason in Czech politics when he’s in the hot seat remains to be seen.

On the one hand, Fiala is understood to hold staunchly conservative social views that could see him clash with coalition and EU partners. But at the same time, relatively little is really known about his private life or views, despite his having led ODS since 2014.

“He is very conservative, but definitely not strongly eurosceptic,” asserts Kopecek. “He wants to be very active towards Brussels and definitely does not want to go same way as [Polish PiS leader Jaroslaw] Kaczynski or Orban.”

“Overall, he’s a very good mediator who can do a lot to keep the government together,” the analysts concludes.

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