The new government of the Czech Republic won a vote of confidence in parliament on Thursday after a marathon debate lasting almost 23 hours.
As expected, the liberal-conservative Cabinet under Prime Minister Petr Fiala received the approval of a clear majority of lawmakers, with 106 voting for him and his ministers, while 87 voted against.
“We’re not populists,” conservative Prime Minister Petr Fiala told lawmakers during the debate. “We’re not promising anything that we’re not sure we can fulfill.”
The alliance of five parties has set itself the goal of consolidating the budget, expanding nuclear power and renewable energy sources, and being a “reliable and respected” partner within the European Union.
The Czech Republic takes over the EU presidency from France in the second half of this year.
The vote was preceded by a long exchange of verbal blows between government and opposition, including an all-night session.
The new Cabinet “is deceiving the citizens and just spouting empty phrases,” said former prime minister Andrej Babis, who lost the parliamentary election in October after almost four years in power.
In addition to Fiala’s Civic Democrats (ODS), the government also includes the conservative TOP09 as well as Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), the Mayors’ Party and the Pirate Party.
In addition to the prime minister, there are 17 Cabinet members, three of whom are women.
The constitution stipulates that any new government must ask for a vote of confidence within 30 days of its appointment.
The coalition known as Together, composed of the Civic Democratic Party, the Christian Democrats and the TOP 09 party, came in first in the election with 27.8% of the vote.
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 of the European Union and NATO.
The government, which was sworn in on Dec 17, has focused on adopting measures to address an anticipated surge of the coronavirus’ highly contagious omicron variant that has become dominant in the country.