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Pressure on the Czech PM rises

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In the Czech Republic, a vote of no confidence in the minority government of Prime Minister Andrej Babis is imminent. This was announced by local media on Wednesday. The reason for this is the „stork nest“ affair, which flared up again, as Babis‘ son said he had been kidnapped by his father in 2017 on the annexed by Crimea Crimea – apparently for fear he would divulge family secrets.

The affair „stork nest“ is about alleged EU subsidy fraud on the part of the Prime Minister and multi-billionaire Babis. The police investigate because Babis years ago, the Central Bohemian spa resort called Capi Hnizdo (stork nest, note) has temporarily overwritten on family members to disguise that it really belonged to his large corporation Agrofert. Actually, almost two million euros had been earmarked for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Babis junior, now living in Switzerland, is said to be one of these family members. However, he „did not know at all“ what he signed, the news portal Seznamzpravy.cz quoted the son on Tuesday. His father had then wanted him (Babis Jr.) disappear because of the investigation around „stork nest“ from the Czech Republic. Meanwhile, the Czech authorities came in explanation, why they have not questioned the Babis‘ son even in the matter.

CSSD as a tip on the scales?

Six opposition parties submitted, according to media reports on Wednesday the corresponding request for a vote of no confidence and asked Babis to resign, what he rejects. The outcome of the vote of no confidence depends mainly on the position of the Social Democrats (CSSD). Within the party, there has been a long-standing vote calling for a break in cooperation between the CSSD and Babi’s protest movement (ANO). ANO, CSSD and KSCM have 108 votes in the 200-member Chamber of Deputies. The date of the vote of no confidence has not yet been determined. Police and prosecutors also announced that they would deal with the case.

Center of the affair is the wellness resort Stork’s Nest in Central Bohemia

On Wednesday, Babis tried to calm his mind and held talks with Interior Minister and CSSD Chairman Jan Hamacek and KSCM Chairman Vojtech Filip. There was also a conversation between Babis and the head of the right-wing populist Freedom and Democracy Party (SPD), Tomio Okamura. At first nothing was communicated to the results of the discussions. Only Okamura spoke about his party’s willingness to „programmatically replace“ the CSSD in the government. He offered a possible tolerance of an ANO expert government in prospect.

Babis denies allegations

The prime minister, however, denies any blame for the affair „Stork’s Nest“, although the investigation in this matter has been going on for months. That is why he was deprived of parliamentary immunity some time ago. Babis spoke of a „hunt for his family“. „The facts are clear: my son is mentally ill,“ said the 64-year-old founder of the liberal-populist ANO via Facebook. He must therefore be under supervision. „Only callous fanatics are able to doubt the diagnosis of my children,“ said Babis. „These are mean lies, and I’ll prove that,“ he added, referring to a coup attempt.

The government is represented by the protest movement ANO and the CSSD. The Cabinet is tolerated by the Communists (KSCM). „I can not exclude any steps and I can not predict what will become of the governing coalition,“ threatened Hamacek. He urged Babis to „clearer and more concrete answers“. The chairman of the conservative party TOP09, Jiri Pospisil, called Babis to resign. He spoke of one of the worst political affairs since the democratic change of 1989. The reputation of the country is at stake, said the head of the Civic Democrats (ODS), Petr Fiala.

On Tuesday evening, President Milos Zeman also commented on the case. „It all seems like a wild conspiracy theory,“ the 74-year-old told the private television channel TV Nova. Zeman advised Babis „not to lose his nerve“. He wanted to discuss the subject with him personally next week.