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Czech Republic’s general elections to begin under specter of Pandora Papers leak


Czech Republic’s general elections to begin under specter of Pandora Papers leak

Loic Venance Getty Images
Image: Loic Venance/Getty Images

The Czech Republic’s general election will begin today to determine the fate of Prime Minister Andrej Babis. The election will be held over two days, appointing all 200 members of the Chamber of Deputies.

Babis came to power in 2017 as the leader of the ANO 2011 party, pledging to fight corruption. Babis’ party has been leading the polls in recent months, but this week Babis himself has faced accusations of corruption following leaked information revealing his use of offshore financial structures.

As a result, an unexpected challenger to this year’s election has emerged—the Prisaha party. The single-issue anti-corruption party was formed earlier this year and has gained significant traction this week because of the corruption scandal. Although Prisaha is unlikely to gain the votes to overtake the top three polling parties, it may be enough for it to enter parliament.

The projected outcome of the election has not been determined, but ANO 2011 remains the frontrunner. Czech President Milos Zeman’s continued support of ANO 2011 may provide political legitimacy not experienced by opposing parties. The new corruption claims, however, are likely to impact Babis’ credibility and ability to form a coalition. Long-term, corruption will remain a decisive electoral issue.

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