A “politically incorrect” billionaire businessman opposed to further EU integration is on track to become the next prime minister of the Czech Republic.
Andrej Babis, a Slovak-born former finance minister who has been sharply critical of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door migration policy, is leading the polls ahead of general elections, set for October 20.
Babis, one of the country’s wealthiest people, presents himself as a non-ideological results-oriented reformer. He has pledged to run the Czech Republic like a business after years of what he calls corrupt and inept management. He is demanding a return of sovereignty from the European Union and rejects the euro; he argues that it would “be another issue that Brussels would be meddling with.” He has also said he plans to cut government spending, stop people from “being parasites” in the social welfare system, and fight for Czech interests abroad. Babis is often referred to as “the Czech Donald Trump.”
Babis’s anti-establishment party ANO (which stands for “Action of Dissatisfied Citizens” and is also the Czech word for “yes”) is centrist, technocratic and pro-business. ANO, which rejects political labels, has attracted voters from both left and right, pulling support away from the established parties. Babis has said that ANO aims to replace left and right with “common sense.”
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