New Czech governing coalition wins confidence vote

The new Czech Republic’s conservative-led government won a vote of confidence in parliament’s lower house on Thursday in a mandatory vote that every administration must win in order to govern.

Lawmakers voted 106-87 for the government led by Prime Minister Peter Fiala, which was formed after general elections in October, ending the reign of populist billionaire Andre Babis.

“We are not populists,” Fiala told lawmakers during a debate that ended in a vote on Thursday. “We don’t promise anything that we are not sure we can deliver.”

The coalition government holds 108 of the House of Representatives’ 200 seats, pushing Babis and his centrist movement ANO (YES) into the opposition.

A three-party, liberal-conservative coalition known as Together, consisting of the Civic Democratic Party, Christian Democrats and the TOP 09 party, came first in the election with 27.8% of the vote.

It formed a government with a center-left liberal coalition made up of the Pirate Party and STAN – a group of mayors and independent candidates – that came in third.

ANO narrowly lost the election with 27.1% of the vote.

Despite their differences on many issues, including climate change, same-sex marriage and the adoption of the euro, the coalition parties all support the Czech Republic’s membership in the European Union and NATO.

The government, which was sworn in on December 17, has focused on adopting measures to address the expected rise of the new highly contagious variant Omicron which has become dominant in the country.

Isolation restrictions on people who have tested positive have cut short and quarantined close contacts.

Cabinet has required all employees to take a coronavirus test twice a week and is considering allowing people in some professions who have COVID-19 but are asymptomatic to work.

New infections have been falling since a record low in late November but started growing again last week.

The country has recorded more than 2.5 million infections and 36,765 deaths.

The new government has also pledged to phase out coal in energy production by 2033 as the country increases reliance on nuclear and renewable sources.

And he approved a plan to help residents hit by rising energy prices, one of the factors behind soaring inflation, which reached 6.6% in November.

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