Czech Protests Call for ‘fraudulent’ PM Resignation

Czech flags and signs stating “We don’t want Babis” filled Prague’s Letna Plain park on Sunday as over 250,000 protesters demanded Prime Minister Andrej Babis resign over allegations of fraud.


Prime Minister Andrej BabisPrime Minister Andrej Babis (Photo: Fotostream des österreichischen Bundesministeriums für Europa, CC-BY-2.0)Babis, also known as the Czech Trump, allegedly misused over €2 million (US$2.2 million) for his agricultural business 10 years ago, according to Al Jazeera. As prosecutors decide to indict him, a leaked European Commission report shows Babis is being investigated for receiving an EU subsidy worth €17.5 million ($19.9 million) that went directly to one of his businesses the same year he became prime minister.

Babis says he’s done nothing wrong but appointed a new justice minister, Marie Benesova, according to EU Observer. Her appointment has only fueled the mass protests, the second largest ever since the 1989 Velvet Revolution.

The EC audit has threatened to make the Czech Republic pay back the nearly €19.8 million ($22.5 million) but the government won’t know if they have to pay the bill until the fall when the final report is published.

Babis made his money as an agricultural tycoon before getting into politics in 2012 by founding the populist ANO party. He was elected prime minister in 2017 after ANO received 30% of the vote, according to CNN.

Babis has been criticized in the past for his alleged involvement in the former Czechoslovakian secret police, the StB. A Slovakian court in 2018 threw out a case where Babis said he was being defamed by the StB accusation, CNN reported.

Protesters in Prague on Sunday (Twitter: @odettegaming)Protesters in Prague on Sunday (Twitter: @odettegaming)One protestor told CNN that it was unimaginable that a former StB agent could be prime minister nearly 30 years after the legendary Velvet Revolution that toppled the one-party Communist government.

A vote of no confidence is scheduled on Wednesday but is expected to fail since the opposition parties do not have enough seats to trigger the motion.

More protests are scheduled for November during the 30 year anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.