Czech Republic’s populist PM given second chance to form coalition government

Czech Republic’s populist PM given second chance to form coalition government

Czech President Milos Zeman will ask Andrej Babis to form a government for the second time today. Despite having been

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Photo: Reuters/David W Cerny

Czech President Milos Zeman will ask Andrej Babis to form a government for the second time today.

Despite having been caretaker prime minister since December, Babis has been unable to bring other parties into coalition with his populist-centrist ANO. Allegations that he fraudulently gained a $2.45 million EU subsidy have made him toxic to most other parties, resulting in a lost confidence vote in January.

His chances of surviving another, likely in July, will probably hinge on the Social Democrats—a centre-left party he has struck a coalition deal with in May. That deal will be subject to a vote of party members and, even if approved, they would still be short seven seats to win a confidence vote. Expect an uphill battle unless they garner additional support from the Communists.

Even if Babis succeeds in forming a government—still far from certain—his coalition would be shaky and at the mercy of the far-left. Striking a deal with the Communists could mean withdrawing Czech pilots from Baltic airspace and implementing tax remittances paid to churches over Cold War-era property seizures.

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