Billionaire populist Andrej Babis in box seat to form government in Czech Republic

Billionaire populist Andrej Babis in box seat to form government in Czech Republic

Billionaire populist Andrej Babis will meet President Milos Zeman today. Babis will receive formal approval to lead negotiations to form a

Andrej Babis to open coalition talks

Photo: Reuters/David Cerny

Billionaire populist Andrej Babis will meet President Milos Zeman today. Babis will receive formal approval to lead negotiations to form a government after his anti-establishment, anti-corruption ANO party won the most votes on October 20.

Finding governing partners will be difficult. The conservative ODS party has ruled itself out, and Babis has said no to the far-right SPD and the ideologically unpalatable Communist party. For stability,  his preference is to join with as few parties as possible.

This would suit a coalition with the runners-up centre-right CDP party. However, they have so far refused to cooperate. The Leftist Social Democrats and Centrist Christian Democrats are the remaining options; they will only enter a coalition if Mr Babis steps down due to an ongoing fraud investigation—he denies any wrongdoing.

The best option for a stable two-party majority is the CDP. A Babis government will reflect traditional Czech euro-scepticism and likely oppose further integration, but remain within the EU. However, if the impasse is not broken, an exit referendum would be the price of a far-right coalition—a bad outcome for Brussels.

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