The Czech prime minister Andrej Babis is offering the Communist Party the chance to enter the government as a junior coalition partner or come to an understanding that would allow him to count on their vote of confidence in parliament.
Facing allegations of corruption for a €2 million fraud case, involving EU subsidies, Babis has been shunned by the centre-right. Therefore, the Czech oligarch and leader of the ruling ANO has turned to the Social Democrats and, uniquely, the Communist Party. The Communist secured a 7,8% share of the vote in the October 2017 legislative elections.
The coalition between ANO, the Social Democrats and the Communists is not unprecedented on a local government level. However, a coalition on a national level would be unprecedented for the Communists, who have not joined any Czech government since 1989.
Polls suggest that 41-to-45% of Czech would not object to a Communist-backed government.
The Communist Party is not asking for the withdrawal of the Czech Republic from NATO.
However, an agreement with the Czech communists would weigh on foreign policy, as in line with the ultra-nationalist position of President Milos Zeman, they stand for a more Russia-friendly policy.
The Communist Party wants to withdraw Czech support for airspace patrols over the so-called “post-Soviet” Baltic states, end economic sanctions against Russia and withdraw Czech troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. The Communist Party has also criticized the deportation of a Russian hacker arrested in Prague in January 2018 and the recent bombardment of Syria.
ANO is traditionally committed to the Czech Republic’s Euro-Atlantic orientation. The far-right and the far-left have made the case for a less integrated foreign policy
The decimated Social Democrats (SPD) – who merely secured a 10,6% share of the vote in October – justify their support for Babis on the basis of a “united front” policy against the surge of the far-right and Euroscepticism.