No Room For Criticism For Babiš

Democratic Security Monthly Foresight: October 2021

4 October 2021

Czech’s will go to the polls at the end of the week (8-9 October) to see if the embattled Prime Minister will retain control. The public has soured and sweetened on PM Andrej Babiš and his ANO’s handling of the pandemic (one of the worst death rates in the world) as well as the numerous allegations of corruption which have led to Czech police asking for the Prime Minister to be charged with fraud and the EU Commission threatening to withhold sending funds to Czechia over conflicts with the billionaire politician’s business affairs.

Babiš’s Box

Over the last year, new two groups have attempted to capitalise on what was seen as an opening in the Prague political seen leading to a barrage of expectations that have spanned the gamut. An early frontrunner was the emergence of a left-leaning coalition consisting of the Pirate Party and independent Mayors which from late February to June were leading in the polls but now stands in third place, surpassed by another new, centre-right coalition SPOLU, which trailed ANO by 5 points in the most recent survey. The race has become even more heated due to the allegations of corruption against Andrej Babiš.

That was until this weekend when one of the largest data leaks in history heaped another controversy on the PM’s shoulders. Named the Pandora Papers, the leak outlined how Babiš used a convoluted offshore structure to buy a 15.2 million euro mansion in the south of France. This puts Babiš under further pressure due to his promises to fight corruption in Czechia. 

Nevertheless, many commentators doubt whether this will have an impact on Babiš’ ANO performance as the PM was able to sway the election campaign away from his previous corruption scandals and Czechia’s exceptionally high COVID-19 death toll by stoking up fears of non-existent migration in the country and portraying green policies as a threat to the national economy. 

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