Billionaire bizman on course for Czech win

Andrej Babis.

Andrej Babis.  

Babis expected to secure power

Czech officials tallied votes on Saturday in a parliamentary election likely to bring a billionaire businessman to power on promises to cut taxes, weed out political corruption and stand firm against immigration.

Andrej Babis’s ANO party held a narrowing double-digit lead in opinion polls going into the two-day vote. Polling stations closed at 2 p.m. local time on Saturday. The first projections were expected around an hour later, and results from most voting stations should be counted by late afternoon.

The country of 10.6 million has enjoyed rapid growth, a balanced budget and the lowest unemployment in the European Union, but voters have grown tired of traditional political players, giving rise to Mr. Babis and other protest groups.

As many as nine parties had a chance of winning seats in the 200-member lower house, possibly complicating coalition-building.

Mr. Babis has taken a tough line against further European Union integration, accepting refugees and adoption of the euro, raising the prospect he may join Hungary and Poland on a collision course with the bloc. His swipes at Brussels play well with eurosceptic Czechs and although immigration to the Czech Republic is virtually non-existent, fear of it has played a part in campaigning, with most parties taking a similar tough stance.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 10:16:22 PM |

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