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Czech mogul Andrej Babis named PM

AFP  |  Prague 

The Czech president today designated billionaire Andrej Babis as the country's prime minister following the mogul's win in an October general

Snubbed by potential coalition partners over his murky past, Babis has formed a minority cabinet that mainly includes members of his ANO movement, which President Milos Zeman is due to appoint on December 13.


"Our country should be more active towards solving illegal immigration," Babis said after his designation.

With its an anti-corruption, anti-euro and anti-migrant campaign, ANO won 78 of 200 seats in ahead of the right-wing eurosceptic ODS, the anti-establishment Pirates, the far-right SPD and five other parties.

But the new cabinet will find it hard to win a confidence vote in parliament, probably in January, as no party has voiced support so far.

Political rivals are suspicious of the 63-year-old Slovak-born chemicals, food and media tycoon because of his communist past and recent police charges.

Babis is facing fraud charges for allegedly pulling his Stork Nest farm out of his sprawling Agrofert holding in 2007 to make it eligible for an EU subsidy granted to small companies, before eventually returning it to the holding.

Police have asked to strip Babis of immunity as a lawmaker for a second time -- the previous stripped him in September but Babis regained his immunity when re-elected in the October vote.

If the new cabinet fails to win a confidence vote, Zeman has said he will give political ally Babis a second chance.

On Wednesday, the outgoing government of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka comprising his leftwing Social Democrats, Babis's ANO and the small centrist Christian Democrats, held its last session after stepping down last week.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, December 06 2017. 19:55 IST
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