PM Babiš Dealt Shock Election Loss but May Try to Keep Power

Prime minister Andrej Babiš appears to have lost his grip on power after his populist party failed to win a majority in Saturday’s nail-bitingly close election.

The results mean opposition coalitions could now join forces to grab power after a dramatic day at the ballot box.

With 100% of the votes counted, the center-right alliance Spolu (Together) won the most votes with 27.79% of the ballots, followed by Babiš’s ANO party with 27.12%, and the centrist PirStan coalition on 15.62%, according to a tally of votes on the statistical office’s website.

While Babiš’s party ANO won the most votes of any single party, it does not have any clear path to a majority after Saturday’s vote.

“We are the change. You are the change,” Spolu coalition leader Petr Fiala said Saturday, claiming victory before a cheering crowd.

The leader of the PirStan coalition, Ivan Bartoš, said talks with Spolu “on the possibilities of forming a new government” would likely begin on Saturday.
“The dominance of Andrej Babiš is over, and the democratic parties have shown that the era of chaos will probably be behind us,” Bartoš said.

The memorandum was a challenge to President Miloš Zeman who has said prior to the election that he would choose the leader of the single party with the largest vote count, and not any coalition, to form the next government.

Babiš said on Saturday he would lead talks on the next government if the president asked him to do so following a parliamentary election.

Babiš, speaking after results showed his ANO ruling party received the second most votes, congratulated the opposition coalition Together on winning the vote.

 

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