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Billionaire's party tipped to win as Czechs vote for parliament

Europe
20.10.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Prague (dpa) - Czechs began voting Friday in a two-day parliamentary election in which the ANO (Yes) party of populist billionaire Andrej Babis is tipped to win.

A recent survey showed ANO at 25 per cent, double the forecast vote share of its nearest rivals, the Social Democrats (CSSD).

Babis, a 63-year-old media magnate, is under investigation for suspected fraud linked to European Union subsidies.

As ANO is not expected to win enough to form a government without junior partners, the accusations could complicate coalition talks.

Babis is a critic of German Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s immigration policy and an opponent of closer EU integration.

The Czech government currently comprises CSSD, ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL). Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, 45, has decided against running again due to personal reasons.

More than 8 million voters are eligible to cast ballots Friday afternoon (1200-2000 GMT) and Saturday morning (0600-1200 GMT).

A record 31 different parties are competing to sit in the country‘s lower chamber of parliament, the more powerful of the legislature‘s two bodies.

 

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