Czech communists to back tycoon’s minority government


PRAGUE: The Czech Communist party said Saturday it would back a coalition government of billionaire Prime Minister Andrej Babis, effectively sealing his victory in a confidence vote next month.
The move ends six months of tough negotiations and marks the first time the Communists will play a key role in the formation of a government since the Velvet Revolution of 1989 in the former Czechoslovakia.
“The group of deputies of the KSCM will actively back the birth of a minority government of the ANO and the Social Democrats during the confidence vote (on July 11),” said party chief Vojtech Filip.
Babis’s populist ANO (Yes) won 78 seats in the 200-member parliament campaigning on an anti-corruption ticket in the October 2017 election, but he has struggled to form a coalition.
On June 6, Czech President Milos Zeman tapped Babis as prime minister for a second time in six months, betting that he will be able to swing a parliamentary majority.
The leftwing Social Democrats (CSSD), who clinched a minority coalition deal with Babis this month, and the Communists each have 15 members in the house.
Potential partners had snubbed Babis over his Communist past and criminal charges he is facing for alleged fraud. He has denied any wrongdoing.