Czech Republic sees shift to right in parliamentary vote

2017-10-22 07:28
Czech billionaire and leader of the ANO political movement Andrej Babis smiles before casting his vote. (Petr David Josek, AP)

Czech billionaire and leader of the ANO political movement Andrej Babis smiles before casting his vote. (Petr David Josek, AP)

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Prague - Partial results from the Czech Republic's parliamentary election on Saturday showed the centrist ANO (Yes) movement led by populist billionaire Andrej Babis heading toward a decisive victory in a vote shaping up to shift the Central European nation to the right.

ANO has received 31.4% of the vote, after ballots from almost 50% of the country's polling stations were counted, according to the Statistics Office.

New government

Babis was the front-runner heading into the two-day ballot that began on Friday to fill 200 seats in the Czech Republic's lower house of Parliament. His victory would pave the way for him to become the country's next prime minister, despite allegations of fraud linked to European Union subsidies.

The president usually asks the leader of the strongest party in Parliament's lower house to try to form a new government.

In a blow to traditional parties, of the first five parties so far leading in the vote, four challenge the traditional political mainstream. Some exploit fears of immigration and Islam and have been attacking the country's membership in the EU and Nato.

Quota system

Early results showed the most radical anti-migration, anti-Muslim, anti-EU party, the Freedom and Direct Democracy, was in second place with 11.5% of the vote so far. The opposition conservative Civic Democrats were third with 10.3%, while the Pirate Party followed with 9.9% and the Communists were fifth with 8.5%.

ANO is united with most other Czech parties in completely rejecting the EU's quota system on redistributing refugees. Babis has been critical of the EU and opposes setting a date for the Czech Republic adopting the euro. His victory could result in another euroskeptic government in Central Europe.

Read more on:    czech republic

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