Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis lost his bid for re-election after a vote of no confidence against him.
Andrej Babis, the Czech Prime Minister lost his bid for reelection after an investigation into fraud charges.
On Saturday, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis was defeated in his quest for re-election by a wealthy businessman who embodied the rise of populist nationalism in Central Europe.
Mr. Babis’ Yes party had 27.2 percent of the vote after 99.9% of the votes were tallied, behind a coalition of right-leaning parties called Together by less than a percentage point. According to Czech Television, the national public broadcaster, the two coalitions looked to control 108 of parliament’s 200 seats, together with a second, liberal alliance of parties dubbed Pirates and Mayors.
On Saturday, the leaders of both parties said that they would work together to create a government.
Together leader Petr Fiala told supporters Saturday night that “both democratic alliances have a possibility to form a government.” “A new era has arrived. It was something we promised. “We’ll take care of it.”
In a short statement on Saturday, Mr. Babis thanked Mr. Fiala and said that he would meet with Czech President Milos Zeman on Sunday to negotiate the new government.
After the first exit polls in the parliamentary elections on Saturday, supporters of the Together alliance of right-leaning parties rejoiced.
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images/Michal Cizek
After the 2015 migrant crisis, Mr. Babis was at the vanguard of a populist movement that swept Central Europe. As the region’s center-left parties crumbled, the blunt-spoken agricultural tycoon—the Czech Republic’s second-richest citizen—stepped in, aligning himself with Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban and denouncing the European Union as an elitist establishment disconnected from ordinary Czechs’ concerns.
He spoke of eliminating the European Parliament on the campaign trail, calling it “a totally worthless organization.” He advocated disbanding the Czech Senate in a book, blaming it for the stalemate that suffocated a nation he pledged to govern with commercial savvy. He praised President Donald Trump, paying him a visit in 2019 and presenting him with a 24-karat gold-plated handgun.
Mr. Babis, on the other hand, has struggled to defeat the center-right coalition, whose anti-corruption message received a final boost last weekend when Mr. Babis was named in the so-called Pandora papers, a report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists detailing political figures who use offshore tax havens. Mr. Babis allegedly spent $22 million on a château in France via shell companies, according to the investigation. Mr. Babis said that the acquisition was taxed and carried out in accordance with the law.
His loss is expected to reverberate in Hungary, where a new alliance of center-right parties is attempting to topple Mr. Orban with an anti-corruption agenda.
“There’s a larger lesson there about populist and anti-elite movements: Their political function may be ephemeral unless those times can deliver on the governance front,” said Dalibor Rohac, a senior scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. “It’s one thing to be anti-establishment and say everyone else is doing it wrong, but it’s quite another to be in power for four years.”
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The findings also demonstrate how new alliances are filling the vacuum left by the region’s oldest parties’ demise. On Saturday, the Czech Social Democratic Party, one of Europe’s oldest social democratic parties, failed to get a seat in parliament, a humiliating defeat for a party that had been the biggest in parliament until the mid-2010s.
Mr. Babis, who depended on the fringe party to maintain his majority in parliament, suffered a significant blow when the Czech Communist Party failed to join parliament for the first time since World War II.
Mr. Babis was under investigation by anti-corruption police, who suggested that prosecutors prosecute him in 2019 for allegedly unlawfully obtaining small company subsidies for his vast conglomerate before becoming Prime Minister. Mr. Babis was not charged because he denied any misconduct.
The accusations sparked the biggest demonstration since the collapse of Communism that year, with 200,000 people assembling in the Prague park where the Velvet Revolution erupted to oppose Mr. Babis’ dictatorial rule.
The coronavirus swept across the Czech Republic in the last year of his presidency, resulting in one of Europe’s worst mortality rates while the government cycled through four successive health ministers throughout the epidemic.
Drew Hinshaw can be reached at [email protected]
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The where is czech republic is a question that many people have asked. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis lost his bid for reelection in a landslide victory for the conservative-centrist party, ANO.
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