The Czech Republic’s parliamentary elections were won by Prime Minister Andrej Babis’ centrist party. This was a surprising development that could signal the end of the reign of the populist billionaire.
Two-day elections to fill 200 seats in lower house of Czech Republic’s parliament were held shortly after details of Babis’ overseas financial dealings were reported by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Babis, who is 67, denies any wrongdoing.
The Czech Statistics Office reported that Together, a liberal-conservative coalition of three parties, won 27.8% of all votes. This beat Babis’ ANO party (Yes), which took 27.1%.
Another blow to populists came in the form of a center-left liberal coalition consisting of STAN and Pirate Party, which was a group made up of mayors. It received 15.6% of votes to place third, according to statistics.
“The two democratic alliances have won a majority and have the chance to form a majority-government,” stated Petr Fiala (together’s leader, and its candidate for prime minster).
Five parties from the opposition with more European Union-oriented policies than the populist Babis voted in this election, attempting to overthrow the euroskeptic prime minster.
Analyst Michal Klima said that the result signifies “an absolute shift in the politics of the Czech Republic.” It stabilizes the country’s place in the West camp.
He said, “It’s an enormous defeat for (Babis),”
With 9.6% support, Freedom and Direct Democracy, the main anti-migrant and anti–Muslim force of the Czech Republic came in fourth place.
The country’s two traditional parliamentary parties, the Social Democrats (and the Communists) failed to win seats in the parliament for the first times since 1993, when Czechoslovakia was split.
Babis’ turbulent term was marred by many scandals. However, all polls prior to the election had shown that Babis preferred his ANO party to win.
Babis stated, “We didn’t expect to lose.” “We accept that.”
He declared the election results to be “excellent.”
Before the vote, Babis was the leader of a minority coalition government consisting of ANO and Social Democrats. The Eastern European country, home to 10.7 million people, is a member both of NATO and the European Union. He was also supported by the radical Communists.
The chance to form a new coalition is usually given to the leader of the strongest party. Although President Milos Zeman did not immediately respond, he previously stated that he would first appoint a leader of the winning party and not the winning coalition to try to form a government. This would be Babis. They will meet on Sunday.
Babis stated, “We are the strongest party.” “If the president asks for me to create government, I’ll start the negotiations.”
To form a new government, a new government must win a confidence vote in parliament. Babis and his potential partner, Freedom, don’t have enough support.