Czech PM Babis survives no-confidence vote four months before elections

Photo: EPA

Czech PM Andrej Babis survived a no-confidence vote on Thursday, as after more than 11 hours of debate only 89 lawmakers voted to dismiss the cabinet, falling short of the required majority of 101 votes in the 200-member parliament.

Crucially, the Communist Party earlier staged a walk-out from parliament hall rather than voting against the government. "We will not take part in this theatre," Communist Party leader Vojtech Filip said, cited by dpa.

Five conservative and liberal parties are behind the no-confidence motion. They accuse the government of failure in the fight against the coronavirus. At the same time, "billions have been thrown out of the window," Petr Fiala of the Civic Democrats criticized.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been more than 30,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the EU member state.

In addition, Babis is being criticized for having a conflict of interest as a politician and founder of a business conglomerate, and he has been threatened with prosecution for fraud relating to EU subsidies.

During the debate, the prime minister said he had not gone into politics to do business and defended his minority government as being successful.

Czech President Milos Zeman had already announced that the Cabinet would remain in office until parliamentary elections in early October regardless of the outcome of the vote.

According to a recent poll by the Median agency, Babis's ANO party would only come second in an election, with 23% of the vote.

The strongest grouping would be the electoral alliance of the Pirate Party and the Mayors and Independents party with 24%. During the debate, Babis attacked the Pirate Party. "We don't want an eco-fanatic pirate state in the Czech Republic," Babis said.

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