Thursday, 24 April 2014

Businessman Babiš officially elected ANO 2011 grouping head

ČTK |
2 August 2012

Prague, Aug 1 (CTK) - Czech businessman Andrej Babis was officially elected head of ANO 2011, a political movement he established last year, at its constituent congress Wednesday.

ANO 2011 has also presented seven candidates, all independents, who would run in the autumn Senate polls with ANO 2011's support.

Babis repeated that ANO 2011's goal is to take part in the general election in 2014.

He said participation in general elections is the only way to gain a chance to influence developments in society.

Babis, the Agrofert Holding's owner, was elected ANO 2011 chairman by the votes of 73 of 76 delegates present.

Jaroslav Faltynek, from Agrofert management, has become one of ANO 2011 chairpersons.

Babis said no other people linked to his business will figure in the movement's leadership.

He said he is the biggest sponsor of ANO 2011, subsidising it with 18 million crowns so far. Another sponsor has provided one million.

ANO 2011 will support the campaigns of each of the seven allied candidates to the Senate with 1.5 million crowns.

The movement has no clearly defined programme as yet, Babis admitted.

"We have not yet agreed on whether we stand in the [political] centre or whether we lean more to the left or to the right," he said.

ANO 2011 experts are drafting the party's programme to be discussed at a conference in November, Babis said, adding that in his opinion experts should prevail in state administration.

Babis, 57, was born in Bratislava but he has Czech citizenship. He graduated from the University of Economics in Bratislava. He worked as an economist in the Slovak Petrimex company. In 1985-1990 represented the firm in Morocco. Later he worked in Petrimex's managerial posts and assisted in founding its Czech branch, later renamed to Agrofert. As from the mid-1995 he gradually got control of Agrofert, of which he became the owner and general director.

Agrofert is one of the biggest Czech companies operating in the chemical and food processing branches.

Babis is considered one of the richest Czech entrepreneurs. This year, he finished in the 913th position, with property worth $1.4 billion, in the Forbes magazine's list of the world's richest people.

Before the November 1989 fall of the communist regime, Babis was a member of the Communist Party (KSC). Unofficial sources say he collaborated with the Communist secret police, which he has resolutely dismissed.

Last year, Babis started to sharply criticise corruption in the Czech Republic. In November he presented his new movement ANO 2011 (an acronym for the Action of Dissatisfied Citizens).

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