News

Czech Republic PM Andrej Babis wins election, fails to get majority

<div data-draftjs-conductor-fragment="{"blocks":[{"key":"7lg0k","text":"UFC Vegas 33 live stream results, ‘Hall vs Strickland’ play-by-play updates, UFC Fight Night: Hall vs. Strickland on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"8emk","text":"\nWatch UFC MMA Fight 2021 Live Stream Free Online ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":1,"length":48,"style":"BOLD"},{"offset":1,"length":48,"style":"UNDERLINE"}],"entityRanges":[{"offset":1,"length":48,"key":0}],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"3tnt7","text":"","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"eh079","text":"","type":"atomic","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"9diac","text":"","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"c6ge2","text":" ","type":"atomic","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":1,"key":1}],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"8g63j","text":"","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"887v0","text":"","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"62a7s","text":"UFC Fight Night: Hall vs. Strickland Live Stream Tv Covarege ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":60,"style":"BOLD"},{"offset":0,"length":60,"style":"UNDERLINE"}],"entityRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":60,"key":2}],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"56b0v","text":"\nUltimate Fighting Championship (UFC) recently put the finishing touches on the UFC Vegas 33 fight card, which takes place this Sat. night (July 31, 2021) from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, streaming LIVE on both ESPN and ESPN+. Main event duties fall to middleweight contenders Uriah Hall and Sean Strickland, who collide for a spot in the 185-pound title chase. Before that clash of styles gets underway, bantamweight grapplers Kyung Ho Kang and Rani Yahya get their jits on for 135-pound bragging rights.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"7ll0l","text":"Main Event features Middleweights Uriah Hall vs. Sean Strickland","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"3qpm1","text":"Main Card at 9 p.m. ET and Prelims at 6 p.m. ET","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"75spa","text":"To subscribe visit ESPNPlus.com/ufc","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"27hkb","text":"ESPN+ available on ESPN.com and ESPN App for mobile and connected TV devices  ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"2upo","text":"UFC Fight Night presented by Modelo: Hall vs. Strickland airs live from UFC APEX in Las Vegas this Saturday on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ (English and Spanish) with prelims at 6 p.m. ET and the main card at 9 p.m. Live coverage includes UFC Live presented by DraftKings: Hall vs. Strickland on Friday at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN2 providing fans with exclusive insights and views on the biggest stories heading into Fight Night. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"3t7t9","text":"The main event features middleweights, Uriah Hall and Sean “Tarzan” Strickland. The six-foot-tall Hall of Jamaica, who will be fighting on his 37th birthday, has a record of 18-9. He has won his last four bouts. Strickland, 6’1” and from Anaheim, California, is 23-3 and has also won his most recent four fights.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"3ab6b","text":"In the co-main event, bantamweights Kyung Ho Kang and Rani Yahya will face off. Kang, a 33-year-old from South Korea, holds a 17-8 record. Yahya, 36 and from Brazil, is 27-10-1.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"cjf1v","text":"Calling the action will be play-by-play announcer Brendan Fitzgerald, alongside analysts and former fighters Michael Bisping and Paul Felder. Megan Olivi will handle reporting duties.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"fg1r5","text":"The Ultimate Fighter on ESPN+","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"ch17q","text":"The Ultimate Fighter 29 on ESPN+: The Return of The Ultimate Fighter®: Team Volkanovski vs. Team Ortega continues Tuesday, Aug. 3 at 9 p.m. The 29th season of the iconic reality series features UFC® featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and No. 2 contender Brian Ortega coaching men’s bantamweights and middleweights for a coveted UFC contract. How to watch The Ultimate Fighter on ESPN+ and other MMA Stories. TUF 29 is presented by Toyo Tires.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"9ocud","text":"ESPN com","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"eebqc","text":"Our Real or Not: Will Uriah Hall become a title contender with a win on Saturday?","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"2esn9","text":"Thursday: Expert picks: Hall vs. Strickland","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"v7mb","text":"Friday: Viewers’ guide","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"9ohu9","text":"Social: @ESPNMMA Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"328p0","text":"Fans can sign-up for ESPN+ at any time at ESPN.com, ESPNPlus.com, or on the ESPN App.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"don1","text":"Programming (All times ET) \nFri., 7/30 5:30 p.m. UFC Live presented by DraftKings: Hall vs. Strickland ESPN2 \n6:05 p.m. UFC Fight Night Pre-Show: Hall vs. Strickland ESPN+ \nSat., 7/31 6 p.m. UFC Fight Night presented by Modelo: Hall vs. Strickland (Prelims) ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+ \n9 p.m. UFC Fight Night presented by Modelo: Hall vs. Strickland (Main Card) ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+ \n1 a.m.* UFC Fight Night Post Show: Hall vs. Strickland ESPN+","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"83v6o","text":"* immediately following main 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Preliminary results show Prime Minister Andrej Babis’ ANO party leading with 28 percent of the vote.

Czech Prime Minister and leader of ANO party, Andrej Babis, looks on ahead of casting his vote in parliamentary elections in Lovosice, Czech Republic October 8, 2021. (Reuters)

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis has won a general election but will struggle to put together a parliamentary majority, meaning any new government could be weeks or even months away.

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Preliminary results showed the populist billionaire’s ANO party leading with 28 percent of the vote, despite widespread accusations of financial impropriety and just a week after he was named in the Pandora Papers investigation.

The Together alliance of the right-wing Civic Democrats, the centre-right TOP 09 and the centrist Christian Democrats came in second with 26 percent with just over 80 percent of the votes counted.

A grouping of the anti-establishment Pirate Party with the Mayors and Independents (STAN) movement scored 15 percent.

The two alliances would be able to form a majority in the 200-seat parliament, garnering 103 seats together to ANO’s 75, according to a projection by Czech TV.

A potential partner for ANO could be the far-right, anti-Muslim Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) movement led by Tokyo-born entrepreneur Tomio Okamura which scored 10 percent.

With most of the almost all ballots counted, turnout had reached nearly 65 percent, up from 60.84 percent in the previous general election in 2017.

The 67-year-old Babis, a food, chemicals and media mogul, is facing police charges over alleged EU subsidy fraud and the bloc’s dismay over his conflict of interest as a businessman and a politician.

Last weekend, the Pandora Papers investigation showed he had used money from his offshore firms to finance the purchase of property in southern France in 2009, including a chateau.

He has denied any wrongdoing and slammed the allegations as a smear campaign.

The Czech economy, heavily dependent on car production and exports to the eurozone which the EU member of 10.7 million is yet to join, is on the mend after the Covid-19lockdowns.

But the pandemic and increases in pensions and public sector wages, recently approved by Babis’s cabinet, have made the public finance gap soar.

Babis currently leads a minority government with the left-wing Social Democrats, which was until recently tacitly backed by the Communist Party that ruled the former totalitarian Czechoslovakia from 1948 to 1989.

But The Communists were ousted from parliament at the polls for the first time since World War II, scoring less than four percent according to the preliminary results, thus failing to meet the five-percent threshold for any party to enter parliament.

It will be up to the pro-Russian President Milos Zeman, Babis’s old ally, to tap the new prime minister.

“He will do his best to keep ANO in power,” said Josef Mlejnek, an analyst at Charles University in Prague.

But Zeman is grappling with health problems that have confined him to his residence for the vote as local media speculate he may struggle to even nominate the prime minister.

The “Pandora Papers” investigation involving some 600 journalists from media including The Washington Post, the BBC and The Guardian is based on a leak of some 11.9 million documents from 14 financial services companies around the world.