The partial results show that the centrist party ANO of populist billionaire Andrej Babis came out on top with 28% of the vote, despite numerous accusations of financial embezzlement and just a week after being named in the Pandora Papers survey.
→ INTERVIEW Legislative in the Czech Republic: “The” Pandora papers “have not reshuffled the cards”
The Ensemble coalition, made up of the right-wing Civic Democratic Party, TOP 09 (center-right) and the Christian Democratic Union (center), came in second with more than 27% of the vote, after a little counting. more than 90% of the votes. An anti-establishment Pirate Party alliance with the Mayors and Independents (STAN) movement won 15% of the vote.
Several possible alliances
The two alliances would be able to form a majority in the 200-seat parliament, together obtaining 103 seats against 75 for ANO, according to a projection on Czech television. A potential partner for ANO could be the far-right, anti-Muslim Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) movement, led by Tokyo-born businessman Tomio Okamura, which won 10% of the vote.
With almost all the ballots counted, the turnout had reached 65%, compared to 60.84% in the previous parliamentary elections in 2017.
The revelations of the “Pandora papers”
67-year-old agribusiness, chemicals and media mogul Andrej Babis accused of alleged EU subsidy fraud and EU accuses him of conflict of interest between his roles as a businessman and politician.
Last weekend, the international “Pandora Papers” investigation revealed that it had used money from its offshore companies to finance the purchase of properties in the south of France in 2009, including a castle. Andrej Babis has rejected all these allegations in which he sees a smear campaign against him.
The economy of the Czech Republic, an EU member country of 10.7 million people, is on the road to recovery after the downturn linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. But recent increases in pensions and civil servants’ salaries have caused the public deficit to explode.
Defeat for the Communists
Andrej Babis currently chairs a minority government with the Social Democrats, tacitly supported by the Communist Party which ruled the former totalitarian Czechoslovakia from 1948 to 1989.
Communists scored below the 5% eligibility threshold on Saturday, meaning they will be expelled from parliament for the first time since World War II.
It will be up to pro-Russian President Milos Zeman to appoint the new prime minister and Andrej Babis should be able to count on his former ally. “He will do his best to keep the ANO in power”, estimated Josef Mlejnek, analyst at Charles University in Prague. But Milos Zeman suffers from health issues that have confined him to his residence for the vote, and according to local media he may even have trouble appointing the prime minister.