Prague, Czech Republic – As widely expected, the government of Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis survived a vote of no-confidence in Parliament.
Taking place on Wednesday, the no-confidence vote was tabled by opposition parties after the release of an EU report claiming the billionaire Prime Minister was in conflict of interest due to his ties with his former giant conglomerate Agrofert.
Babis and his ruling ANO party survived, for the second time, the motion thanks to the support of the Social Democrats (CSSD), the government’s junior coalition partners, and MP’s from the Communist Party, assuring him a majority of 108 votes in the lower house of Parliament.
The vote of no-confidence, although widely expected to fail, signals growing pressure for the embattled Czech PM, who’s facing allegations of abuse of EU funds and conflict of interest.
It also comes a few days after over 250.000 people gathered in Prague to call for his resignation in the biggest protest in the Czech Republic since 1989 and the fall of communism. Critics worry Babis, by appointing close ally Marie Benesova as Justice Minister one day after police investigators called for his indictment, will try to silence the courts and interfere in the ongoing judicial investigations.
This is the second time Babis faces and survives a vote of no-confidence since he was officially appointed exactly as PM one year ago. The last one took place in November, following allegations that the Prime Minister had arranged for his son to be kidnapped and taken to Crimea in order not to testify in an EU subsidy fraud probe.