Prague, Czech Republic – Following the release of a damning EU report, Czech opposition parties are ramping up efforts to oust Prime Minister Andrej Babis.
Czech opposition increases pressure on embattled Prime Minister
This week, the centre-right opposition TOP 09 party announced it was ready to submit a vote of no-confidence in the government in the lower house of Parliament if Prime Minister Andrej Babis refused to resign, local media reports. Other opposition parties, including the Czech Pirates, had already been mulling filing a vote of no-confidence to put the future of the government to a parliamentary test.
The billionaire Czech Premier has faced growing calls to step down in recent weeks. Tens of thousands of Czechs have taken to the streets in Prague and other cities to ask for his resignation over his decision to replace the Justice Minister one day after Czech police recommended his indictment for EU subsidy fraud. Earlier this month, a highly-anticipated preliminary EU report found Andrej Babis in conflict of interest due to his ties to his former business empire Agrofert, galvanizing the political opposition and activists calling for him to step down.
Babis always denied any wrongdoing, and claims these judicial affairs are nothing more than a witch-hunt orchestrated by his political enemies.
Referring to Babis’ claim that the EU Commission report is an attack against the Czech Republic as a whole, TOP 09 said that the Prime Minister is taking Czechs hostage of his own judicial problems. Party chairman Jiří Pospíšil pointed out that this affair damages the reputation of the Czech Republic abroad and jeopardizes millions of euros in EU funds.
Vote of no-confidence against government unlikely to pass
For a vote of no-confidence to pass, a simple majority of 101 votes (out of 200 MPs) is required.
Although Andrej Babis leads a minority government (93 seats in total) comprised of his own ANO movement and the Social Democratic Party (CSSD), he can nevertheless rely on the informal support of the Communists and, to a lesser extent, the far-right SPD party – a support many believe was orchestrated by President Milos Zeman.
With 73 seats in total, the opposition is incapable of mustering the required majority the bring down the Prime Minister and his government. The vote of no-confidence is therefore very unlikely to pass and is bound to remain a largely symbolic move, unless Babis’ allies and supports in the Chamber of Deputies decide to break ranks.