An anti-establishment, anti-immigration, eurosceptic billionaire won the Czech election on Saturday, with his party getting nearly 30 percent of the vote.
Andrej Babis, 63, is the second richest man in the Czech Republic. After he surged in the polls the establishment tried to take him down through a “politically motivated” tax fraud investigation. They failed. He’s now set to become their next Prime Minister.
From New York Times:
Ano, the party formed by Andrej Babis, 63, had nearly 30 percent of the vote with 99 percent of ballots counted. The Social Democrats, who have been at the center of Czech politics for a quarter-century and had finished first in the previous election, came in a distant sixth with just 7 percent. The Communists were fifth. And the Christian Democrats, another party that traces its roots to the country’s founding, got less than 6 percent, perilously close to the cutoff to qualify for seats in Parliament.
Ano was not the only anti-establishment party to do well. The extreme right-wing Freedom & Direct Democracy, with 10.7 percent, doubled its proportion from the previous election. That was just a fraction of a percentage point behind the youth-oriented Czech Pirate Party, an anti-establishment movement from the opposite end of the political spectrum.
[…]In recent months, as polls showed his rise to prime minister becoming likely, Mr. Babis became the target of an investigation into possible tax crimes and was fired as finance minister. This month, he was indicted on what he called politically motivated charges of misusing European Union subsidies. Opponents called on him to step down as his party’s candidate for prime minister. He refused.
“I am happy that Czech citizens did not believe the disinformation campaign against us and expressed their trust in us,” Mr. Babis said in his victory speech at Ano headquarters. “We are a democratic movement, we are a pro-European and pro-NATO party, and I do not understand why somebody labels us as threat to democracy.”
[…]Mr. Babis drew wide support from older Czech voters, fed up with corruption scandals and unfulfilled promises, who were willing to overlook their candidate’s own legal issues.
“His opponents are just trying to tarnish him, and people don’t care about these political games,” said Petr Sebor, 70, who was escorting his 91-year-old mother, Zdenka, to the polls on Friday, the first of two days of voting.
Everyone wants their own Trump. As I reported earlier this month, Brazil is also potentially on track to elect a pro-gun, pro-family nationalist as their next president.
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