Andrej Babis is set to become the Czech Republic’s next prime minister after winning last night’s legislative elections. Babis, dubbed by local media as the “Czech Trump” due to his business empire and populist campaign, ran as leader of his centrist movement ANO, which received over 30% of the vote – almost three times more than the next party. The 63-year-old campaigned on an anti-establishment platform, opposed adoption of the euro and took a hard stance on immigration.
In spite of receiving 78 seats, ANO will have to negotiate a coalition with other parties in order to form a government and secure a majority in the lower chamber of Parliament. The centre-right Civic Democrats, who came second with 25 seats, are ANO’s only option of forming a two-party coalition, but have already talked down possibilities of this scenario. The Pirate Party, lead by Ivan Baros, will make their debut in Parliament with 22 seats. The far-right SPD and the Communist Party finished in 4th and 5th place, respectively. Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Party (ČSSD), who had been in government since 2013, lost more than half of its electorate, obtaining just 9% of the vote.
Babis is the country’s second-richest man, and has made his estimated $4bn fortune in chemicals, food and media. Nonetheless, he has also faced numerous scandals and problems with justice, including tax evasion and corruption accusations. The billionaire stated during the election campaign that the media was behind an “anti-Babis conspiracy”. After the results were published, Babis thanked his voters and said he had not expected the result after “the lies” in a “massive disinformation campaign” against his party.
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