Czech Prime Minister Digs In as Street Protests Swell

Trump maintains the support of the religious right and conservatives despite allegations of sexual harassment and adultery. Babis launched his ANO party in 2011 appealing to popular anger over a political system rife with corruption, but persistent accusations of fraud and graft have not dented support.

ANO won 2017 elections with 29 per cent of the vote. Fast forward 20 months and criminal charges hang over the prime minister, while the EU is demanding that Prague return millions of euros of structural funds due to his conflicts of interest.

Worries that the prime minister is conniving with Czech President Milos Zeman — known for his pro-Russia and pro-Chinese views — to destroy the independence of the judiciary have provoked the largest demonstrations in the country since 1989's Velvet Revolution.

But despite this rap sheet, polls show that ANO's support remains close to 30 per cent, around double that of its nearest rival.

Five of the nine parties represented in parliament have called a motion of no-confidence in the ANO-led minority coalition, but they hold only 87 of the 200 seats in the Chamber of Deputies lower house.

Even in the unlikely event that the government falls, ousting ANO from power looks impossible for the meantime, said Jakub Michalek, parliamentary faction leader for the Pirate Party, which vies with the conservative ODS for the title of largest opposition party with 13-17 per cent support, according to polls.

Pressure point

Prague had the largest protest since the fall of communism on June 4 as an estimated 120,000 demonstrators took to the streets, calling for Babis to quit. Organisers hope more than 200,000 will rally on June 23.

It will be the fifth major demonstration in the capital...

Continue reading on: