PM Andrej Babis front-runner in Czech vote, despite scandals

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Czech parliamentary elections began Friday, showing Prime Minister Lady Babis, a populist billionaire, has a good chance of keeping her job despite a new scandal over her financial dealings.

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Two-day voting is being held to fill 200 seats in the lower house of parliament, the main legislative body in the eastern European country that is a member of the European Union and NATO.

Euroskeptic Babys, 67, has had a tumultuous term characterized by several scandals. Among them, the police recommended that he be indicted on alleged fraud involving EU subsidies, and a recently published EU report concluded that Babis had interests over subsidies from the bloc linked to his former trading empire. is a collision.

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However all polls support his centrist ANO (YES) movement to come first with at least 25% of the vote. But it is not clear whether Babis will win such a huge victory to be able to form a new coalition government.

The latest scam linked Babis to offshore accounts.

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The discovery by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, called the “Pandora Papers”, alleged that Babis pumped $22 million into shell companies to buy 16 properties in southern France. The Pandora Papers presented details of how many of the world’s richest and most powerful people allegedly hide their wealth from tax collectors.

French assets were not disclosed in the prime minister’s required asset declarations, according to documents obtained by the Czech partner of the journalism group. Babis has denied any wrongdoing and claimed that the recent reports were meant to harm him in the election.

Babis has led a minority coalition government of the ANO and the left-wing Social Democrats, he has also ruled with the support of communists, who oppose the country’s NATO membership and thus an indirect part in running the country for the first time since its collapse. Receive. Communist-run Eastern Bloc in 1989.

Both the Social Democrats and the Communists may struggle to win any parliamentary seat at the moment.

Five opposition parties have set aside their differences to form two coalitions, aimed at ousting the Eurosceptic prime minister from power.

The centre-right Together coalition consists of the Conservative Civic Democratic Party and the Christian Democrats and the Liberal-Conservative Top 09 Party. The liberal Pirate Party and Stan, a group of mayors and independent candidates, formed a centre-left coalition.

Each coalition is predicted to win around 20% of the vote, and both have indicated that they will cooperate to form a new government if given the chance.

Babis bets on an aggressive campaign, in which migration is a major theme, even though his country is not a typical destination for migrants and refugees. He invited Europe’s anti-migration champion, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, to participate in a campaign rally.

Babis has also pledged to defend Czech sovereignty, which he claims is threatened by the European Union, and has accused his main opponents in the election of being “controlled” by Brussels. Babis also criticizes the 27-member bloc’s plan to tackle climate change, saying it will hurt the country’s economy and is responsible for high energy prices.

He has not ruled out forming an alliance with Freedom and Direct Democracy, an anti-migrant, anti-Muslim party that wants to take the country out of the European Union and hold a referendum on NATO membership. The party is polling a little over 10%.

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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