UARU
The Czech Government's Resignation, Explained
18 January, 2018

The future of the two top positions in Czech politics — the prime minister and the president — are now up in the air. This week, the government of Prime Minister Andrej Babis failed a vote of confidence. As a result, the government has resigned and assumed an acting role until the new government can be appointed.

The Babis government’s failure can largely be attributed to fraud charges the prime minister is currently facing, according to Martin Ehl, a Czech journalist and the world news editor at Hospodářské Novin. The Czech prosecutor opened a case against Babis last year, after allegations emerged that he misused two million euros worth of EU funding meant for small businesses a decade ago.

Babis is now racing to form a new government, a process that may be impeded by his personality. As a former CEO, he isn’t used to functioning in the world of politics. He thinks that if he won the election, “he can do whatever he wants, but he doesn’t understand well how to work with coalition partners or partner's in general,” Ehl says.

To complicate matters, Czechia goes to the polls at the end of this month for a second round of presidential elections. Incumbent president Milos Zeman — who, like Babis, has played up to the populist vote and growing Europskeptic, anti-immigration sentiments in Czechia — supports Babis’ minority government. Therefore, if Zeman proves victorious in the election he may re-appoint Babis. But what if he doesn’t?

Hromadske spoke with Martin Ehl via Skype to discuss what the government’s resignation and the imminent presidential elections could mean for Czechia.