Tuesday, 24 October 2017

FAZ: Populist Babiš may rule Czech Republic

ČTK |
10 October 2017

Berlin, Oct 9 (CTK) - There is the fear that if Andrej Babis' ANO wins the forthcoming Czech general election, a populist may rule the country, the German paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) wrote on Monday.

The daily also highlights the scandal with the Capi hnizdo (Stork Nest) resort, due to which Babis was stripped of parliamentary immunity and is facing prosecution.

"A great deal of doubts are connected with Babis. Above all, there is the fear that after his victory a populist may rule even in the last part of Central Europe," FAZ writes.

It warns of the governments in Poland, Hungary and Slovakia which are cemented by nationalist rhetoric, scepticism of the EU and a tough stance in the refugee policy.

Babis is one of the richest Czechs and the main favourite of the election, set for October 20-21, the daily writes.

"Babis is given a number of labels. Some call him a 'Vltava Berlusconi' or 'Babisconi'," it adds, evoking former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi who was able to combine a large political and media influence.

Many people inside and outside the Czech Republic describe Babis as a populist and even a subsidy fraudster, FAZ writes.

Babis has denied any wrongdoing.

"I am only a populist if it means to be elected by people in order to serve the people," Babis told the paper.

The daily outlines Babis's attitudes to the EU, the euro and migration as well as his economic plans.

"Babis's economic programme is inconcrete, but ti does not seem to be revolutionary or dangerous," writes the paper, also describing the good state of Czech public finances after Babis's work as the finance minister.

Babis was forced to leave the post this May after a row with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) due to his dubious business activities.

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