Clear victory for Babis: Populists win election in the Czech Republic

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The Czech Prime Minister Babis is criticized for his corona crisis management. His populist party ANO won the regional election surprisingly clearly. The search for coalition partners is likely to be difficult.

The populist ruling party ANO led by Prime Minister Andrej Babis has surprisingly clearly won the regional election in the Czech Republic. The movement received a total of almost 22 percent of the vote and was in first place in ten of the 13 regions. This was announced by the CSU statistics agency after counting almost all electoral districts.

Shortly before the election, the multibillionaire Babis was still under pressure because of his corona crisis management. The Czech Republic posted a record of new corona infections every day for two days in a row. 3,793 confirmed cases were reported on Friday. Almost 700 people have died so far in connection with Covid 19 disease. The state of emergency comes into force on Monday. The ANO started with the slogan “Actions instead of words”. According to observers, however, it is likely to have a difficult time finding coalition partners to provide the regional president. Everyone was against Babis, the ANO founder complained in a first reaction on television. Nevertheless, he was “really pleased” with the result.

The election was seen as an important test of sentiment ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections. The co-governing Social Democrats (CSSD) suffered dramatic losses, gained a total of just under five percent of the votes and had to give up leadership in two regions. The strongest opposition party was the Czech pirates. The participation was just under 38 percent.

There is a change in the Usti (Aussig) region on the border with Saxony, where the popular communist regional president Oldrich Bubenicek no longer ran. According to opinion researcher and political advisor Jan Herzmann, those who hold the top position in the border regions have a great influence on cooperation with Germany: “Wherever the regional government supports this cooperation, relations are more intensive – there is still a lot that could be done.”

At the same time, a third of the 81 electoral districts were elected to the Senate, the upper house of parliament, on Friday and Saturday. The ANO (Czech for “yes”) moves into the second round with the most candidates, closely followed by several conservative parties. The runoff election will take place in a week. The Senate has a say in legislation and can prevent constitutional changes.





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