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Czech billionaire PM wins vote but falls short of majority

Babis was named in the Pandora Papers investigation Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis won a general election on Saturday but will struggle to put together a parliamentary majority, meaning any new government could be weeks or even months away .

The Together alliance of the right-wing Civic Democrats, the centre-right TOP 09 and the centrist Christian Democrats came in second with 26 percent with just over 80 percent of the votes counted.

A grouping of the anti-establishment Pirate Party with the Mayors and Independents (STAN) movement scored 15%.

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The two alliances would be able to form a majority in the 200-seat parliament, garnering 103 seats together to ANO’s 75, according to a projection by Czech TV.

 

He has denied any wrongdoing and slammed the allegations as a smear campaign.

The Czech economy, heavily dependent on car production and exports to the eurozone which the EU member of 10.7 million is yet to join, is on the mend after the Covid-19 lockdowns.

But the pandemic and increases in pensions and public sector wages, recently approved by Babis’s cabinet, have made the public finance gap soar.

Babis currently leads a minority government with the left-wing Social Democrats, which was until recently tacitly backed by the Communist Party that ruled the former totalitarian Czechoslovakia from 1948 to 1989.

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It will be up to the pro-Russian President Milos Zeman, Babis’s old ally, to tap the new prime minister.

“He will do his best to keep ANO in power,” said Josef Mlejnek, an analyst at Charles University in Prague.

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