Czech PM faces confidence vote

The Czech Republic will hold a vote of no confidence in the country’s prime minister, Andrej Babiš, on November 23. The news follows days of protests in the capital Prague, in which increasingly large numbers of Czechs have called for the prime minister’s resignation.

On November 19, the vice-chair of the Social Democrats (ČSSD), Martin Netolický, said Mr Babiš should voluntarily resign and let his party, ANO, appoint another leader in his place.

“This would be the preferred option for a number of ČSSD MPs as they grapple with their choices before Friday’s vote,” he said. Both ČSSD and ANO form part of the ruling minority coalition government.

“I will never resign, never. Let everybody remember that: never,” Mr Babiš replied, via his Facebook page.

Just six months since forming a government, Mr Babiš stands accused of corruption in a case knows as Stork Nest, according to which the prime minister manipulated the ownership of one of his firms to qualify for two million euros in EU development subsidies. More recently, his son told reporters that his father had sent him to Crimea so as to avoid being called as a witness in the case.

Mr Babiš denies all the charges, and appears to have the support of the Czech president, Miloš Zeman. The two men met on November 19, with the president assuring Mr Babiš that even if he were to be defeated in the no-confidence vote, he would nevertheless be offered a new chance to form a government.