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Czech PM set to lose power after weak showing in general election | The Guardian |

In a poll overshadowed by intense speculation about the health of the Czech president, Miloš Zeman, the prime minister's Action for Dissatisfied Citizens party (ANO) was tied with an opposition faction to be the largest grouping after its share of the vote fell from its victorious 2017 election. With nearly all the votes counted, Spolu (Together) had 27.7% of the vote compared with ANO's 27.2%, a result that sparked celebrations at Spolu's headquarters.

The electoral blow followed disclosures in the Pandora Papers that Babiš - a former oligarch and owner of a giant industrial conglomerate, Agrofert - set up offshore companies to buy a chateau for £13m in the French Riviera, a move at odds with his political message of anti-corruption and financial transparency.

ANO's loss was compounded by the failure of both the Czech social democrats (ČSSD), its junior coalition partner, and the Communist party (KSČM) - whose votes have kept Babiš's government in power - to pass the 5% electoral threshold needed to enter parliament, all but cutting off Babiš's route to a new coalition.

The result appeared to signal a highly symbolic final consignment to historical oblivion for the communists, who ruled the former Czechoslovakia with an iron fist for more than 40 years before being toppled in the 1989 Velvet Revolution, amid the collapse of communism throughout eastern Europe.

The outcome held the prospect of a majority coalition comprising the centre-right Spolu grouping and Pir-STAN, a liberal-left faction consisting of the Pirates and the Mayors and Independent (STAN) parties.

Czech legislative elections - 2021

by Oui on Sat Oct 9th, 2021 at 08:59:25 PM EST
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