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Czech billionaire PM wins vote but falls short of majority

The Together alliance of the right-wing Civic PM wins vote 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 PM wins vote Mayors and Independents (STAN) movement scored 15%. Also Read- Chile president investigated after Pandora Papers leak The two alliances would be PM wins vote 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. A potential partner for ANO could be the far-right, anti-Muslim Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) movement led by Tokyo-born entrepreneur Tomio Okamura which scored 10 percent.

With most of the almost all ballots counted, turnout had reached nearly 65%, up from 60.84% in the previous general election in 2017. The 67-year-old Babis, a food, chemicals and media mogul, is facing police charges over alleged EU subsidy fraud and the bloc’s dismay over his conflict of interest as a businessman and a politician. Last weekend, the Pandora Papers investigation showed he had used money from his offshore firms to finance the purchase of property in southern France in 2009, including a chateau.

He has denied any wrongdoing and slammed  PM wins vote 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.

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. But Zeman is grappling with health problems that have confined him to his residence for the vote as local media speculate he may struggle to even nominate the prime minister.

The “Pandora Papers” investigation involving some 600 journalists from media including The PM wins vote Washington Post, the BBC and The Guardian is based on a leak of some 11.9 million documents from 14 financial services companies around the world.

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