As expected, the czech minority government under multibillionaire andrej babis has survived a vote of no confidence in parliament. In the decision, 92 deputies voted to dismiss the cabinet. 101 votes required in the 200-strong lower house of parliament.
The alliance of liberal-populist ANO and social-democratic CSSD has only been in power since the end of june.
The reason for the opposition’s motion was a report that had reignited accusations that 64-year-old babis had unjustly collected millions in EU subsidies with his former company agrofert. The eldest son of the head of government had said in it that he had been taken to the crimea in order not to be able to testify against his father in the case. Babis then declared that his son from his first marriage was mentally ill.
"The journalists hunted me down like a wild animal, like a criminal who is said to have kidnapped his son," babis emoted before parliament. CSSD chairman and interior minister jan hamacek, meanwhile, admitted that the affair was putting a strain on the government. His party – although in the coalition – stayed away from the vote.
In the evening, thousands of people gathered in prague for a demonstration "for a credible government". Among other things, they shouted "the czech republic is not russia" and demanded "demission, demission" on banners. President milos zeman criticized the protests, which were held under the slogan "a million moments for democracy. We must not give in to the "pressure of the angry prague masses," the 74-year-old said, according to his spokesman.
The czech public is divided: 44 percent of those polled in a poll by broadcaster CT before the vote of no confidence were in favor of deposing the government; slightly more, 48 percent, were against it.