- Title: Czech opposition grabs election win from PM Babis, wants to form government
- Date: 9th October 2021
- Summary: PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC (OCTOBER 9, 2021) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** CZECH PRIME MINISTER ANDREJ BABIS ARRIVING TO ANO PARTY HEADQUARTERS BABIS ARRIVING TO NEWS CONFERENCE AFTER ELECTION JOURNALISTS BABIS ON STAGE (SOUNDBITE) (Czech) CZECH PRIME MINISTER, ANDREJ BABIS, SAYING: "We are the strongest political party, we have the most mandates, 71- 72 (mandates). The second party, the Civic Democrats, have 34, so we are the strongest (eds please note, Civic Democrats are part of the Together coalition which won the election). And Mr President said he would authorise the strongest party (to try to form a government). So if the president authorizes me to do so, I will of course lead talks on forming a cabinet." BABIS LEAVING NEWS CONFERENCE
- Embargoed: 23rd October 2021 22:20
- Keywords: ANO Party Czech Republic PM Andrej Babis Petr Fiala Prague Together coalition election results elections voting
- Location: PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
- City: PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
- Country: Czech Republic
- Topics: Europe,Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA001EYFSH1J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Czech center-right opposition group Together beat Prime Minister Andrej Babis' ANO party in a surprise parliamentary election result on Saturday (October 9) and pledged to form a new government with allies who will have a combined majority of seats.
Together and another opposition group, the liberal Pirates/Mayors, won combined 108 seats in the 200-seat lower house of parliament, full results showed.
This gives the two parties a chance to replace Babis and his two allied parties, which both dropped out of parliament in the two-day election that ended at mid-day on Saturday.
Babis, 67, battled criticism during the campaign that he mismanaged the coronavirus pandemic, stoked fast-rising debt with handouts and tended to his own business interests in office. Babis has denied all the accusations.
"We have brought a chance that we will stop getting in debt, that we will remain a part of democratic Europe," Together leader Petr Fiala, 57, a former political science lecturer and university rector, told reporters while his supporters chanted "together" and "prime minister".
Fiala added that within 24 hours, his team would negotiate with the leaders of the Pirates/Mayors group.
Complete results showed Together at 27.79%, pulling ahead of ANO with 27.12% and the Pirates/Mayors at 15.62%.
The coalitions refuse to work with Babis over what they say are his unacceptable conflicts of interest related to the business empire he created before entering politics.
The result is a blow to President Milos Zeman, an ally of Babis, and the Communists, voted out of parliament for the first time since the end of World War Two.
Babisâ€™ coalition partner, the center-left Social Democrats, also dropped out of parliament.
Zeman has indicated he would still give Babis the first attempt to form a government if ANO won the most votes, which it did as an individual party - a scenario that could keep Babis in power for months and which the opposition have feared.
Babis conceded Together won more votes as a coalition but did not signal a move into opposition.
"If the president authorizes me to do so, I will lead talks on forming a cabinet," he said, adding his ANO is the strongest individual party.
This is despite the fact that he has no mathematical chance for a majority if Together - a coalition of three center-right liberal and conservative parties - and Pirates/Mayors stick to their pledge to work together.
Pirate Party leader Ivan Bartos hinted the group would participate in government negotiations with the Together coalition, adding the Pirates/Mayors group would continue working together.
Babis was due to meet Zeman on Sunday (October 10) and again on Wednesday (October 13).
(Production: Jiri Skacel, Jan Skacel, Karolina Bohacova)
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