Andrej Babis slams EU's 'unfair' plans to increase rebates
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The Czech Republic 2021 legislative election will be held on October 8 and 9 and already many are saying this election could be unlike any other. The continuation of the current Prime Minister is very uncertain due to many allegations of corruption made against him and his firms. Post-election discussions and coalition talks between various parties will also make for a very interesting election result.
Speculation has arisen in recent weeks claiming Prime Minister Andrej Babis may be forced to resign – even if his ruling party ANO 2011 (ANO) retains power.
Earlier this year, Czech politics appeared to be headed for a major upheaval with coalitions seeming likely.
Almost every opinion poll conducted from January to early June put the Pirates Party-led coalition party out in front.
In May, the newly formed Pirates and Mayors alliance won 27 percent of the popular vote – six percentage points ahead of Mr Babis’ ANO party.
This group is an electoral alliance between the Pirate Pary and the Mayors and Independents (STAN).
But less than a month from election day and it seems Mr Babis’ party is making progress again.
According to Politico’s Poll of Polls, as of September ANO currently holds 27 percent of national parliament voting intention.
The Pirates and Mayors party is actually in third position with 18 percent of the vote, behind the centre-right party coalition Spolu with 20 percent of the vote.
This is followed by 10 percent for the right-wing Freedom and Direct Democracy party (SPD) and five percent for the centre-left Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD).
The Pirates and Mayors emphasise a pro-European Union foreign policy and the digitalisation of the bureaucracy.
The most recent poll published by Ipsos and conducted from September 8 to 12 revealed ANO was 2.7 percentage points ahead of its nearest competitor Spolu.
ANO won 27.4 percent of the vote share compared to 24.7 for Spolu.
The Pirates and Mayors party was in third place with 17.3 percent of the vote, followed by SPD with 9.6 percent.
In a Phoenix Research poll conducted from September 1 to 10, 25.4 percent of the 1,066 respondents backed ANO – which put the party 8.3 percentage points in the lead ahead of its nearest competitor.
Spolu came in second place with 17.1 percent, closely followed by the Pirates and Mayors party with 15.6 percent.
The right-wing SPD was in fourth place once again with 11.5 percent of the vote.
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Many political experts believe the surge in popularity for the ANO party is due to the combination of the Czech Republic surpassing the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic and also the party’s election campaign activities.
During the recent re-election campaign launch, Mr Babis vowed to keep out migrants and prevent ceding national powers to Brussels.
The central European country took in almost no migrants during the migrant influx across Europe in 2015.
The Czech leader has continued to resist accepting migrants as an important part of his communication to the public.
Speaking at the re-election event on September 2, Mr Babis said: “This is the last chance to protect our national interests, living standards, our culture.”
He added: “As long as I am prime minister, we will not accept a single illegal migrant.”
The party is leading in the polls, but currently not by a significant enough amount to win an outright majority.
Therefore the possibility of lengthy post-election coalition talks have been raised.
A centre-left coalition and another on the centre-right are the main challengers to Mr Babis.
The ANO party did not win a majority in 2017 and due to Czech election rules, it appears implausible the party would be able to do so this year.
In 2017, the party formed a coalition with the ČSSD – a party currently tipped to lose many of its seats in October.
Until earlier this year, ANO’s coalition Government also depended on support from the Community Party of Bohemia and Movaria – a party also tipped to lose seats in October.
This means ANO would need to seek new coalition partners if it wished to remain in power, which would be a tricky feat for the populist party without traditional allies.
Analysts have suggested a likely option could be the two main coalitions (Pirates and Mayors and Spolu) could attempt to form a coalition government if they do not come first in the popular vote.
But Czech President Milos Zeman has already intimated that the winner of the ballot will have the first chance of forming a coalition government.
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