Prague, Czech Republic – Prime Minister Andrej Babis is the most likely candidate to succeed Milos Zeman and become the next Czech President, according to bookmakers, the Czech News Agency (CTK) reported.
According to a spokesman for the Fortuna betting company, billionaire Premier Andrej Babis is the favourite to replace Milos Zeman, who won’t be able to seek reelection when his term ends in 2023, with current odds of 6.5:1 for the ruling ANO leader becoming head of state.
The move from Kramar’s Villa, the official residence of the Prime Minister, to the Prague Castle wouldn’t really be a first in history. Both Milos Zeman (1998-2002) and predecessor Vaclav Klaus (1993-1998) have been PMs before being elected President.
Although under scrutiny for conflict of interest and EU subsidy fraud from both EU and Czech authorities and faced with a wave of mass protests, the current PM’s ANO party remains the most popular party in the Czech Republic.
According to bookmakers, Andrej Babis is followed by independent Pavel Fischer (odds of 7:1) and retired Czech Army General Petr Pavel (8:1), who recently hinted he could throw his hat in the presidential race, as the likeliest persons to become the next Czech President.
Other less-likely candidates, according to Czech bookmakers, include high state attorney Lenka Bradacova (9:1) and Vaclav Klaus Jr., who recently founded the Tricolour party (9:1 also), as well as current EU Commissioner Vera Jourova (10:1), and scientist Jiri Drahos (15:1), who lost in the second round of the 2018 presidential election.
Leader of the Czech far-right party Tomio Okamura is considered to have a 60:1 chance of becoming the next President, sharing the same odds as Monika Babisova, the Prime Minister’s wife – but still better than ice hockey star Jaromir Jagr (68:1, a symbolic reference to his jersey number) or current presidential spokesman Jiri Ovcacek (75:1).
In 2018, over 285 million Kc (around 11 million €) were bet on the presidential election, six times more than in 2013, according to CTK.
The next presidential election will be held in January 2023.