News 11 july — 21:28

Czech PM Babis expected to win backing for his centre-left cabinet

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 The Czech parliament is expected to back the new, centre-left minority cabinet led by billionaire Andrej Babis on Wednesday, ending his nine-month struggle to secure a parliamentary majority, Euronews reports.

Most parties rejected working with Babis because he faces fraud charges related to a 2 million euro EU subsidy a decade ago. He denies any wrongdoing but the case prevented him from forming the centre-right coalition he said he would have preferred after his ANO party won an election last October.

Eventually, Babis convinced the centre-left Social Democrats to join the ANO movement, which he founded, in a minority administration, which has 93 seats in the 200-seat lower house of parliament.

To secure a majority, he struck a deal with the pro-Russian and anti-NATO Communists, who have 15 deputies in the lower house, to support the cabinet. This gives the once-outcast party a political say for the first time since the fall of Communism.

The confidence vote, mandatory for any new cabinet, is expected sometime later on Wednesday.

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