EU UNDER THREAT: Anti-Brussels party takes strong lead ahead of Czech elections 2017

Friday, September 29, 2017
By Paul Martin

AN anti-EU party is poised for victory in next month’s Czech Republic elections with Eurosceptic Andrej Babis maintaining a strong lead in a recent poll.

Fri, Sep 29, 2017

Support for the ANO party of Czech billionaire Mr Babis inched up by 0.5 percentage points to 27.0 per cent, widening its lead over Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka’s Social Democrats (CSSD).

The Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), a movement with strong anti-EU and anti-Islam views, rose to 6.5 per cent in September from 6.0 per cent in August, according to a Median agency poll.

And the anti-establishment Pirates, who campaign with images of some of the leading politicians behind bars, increased their share to 6.0 per cent from 3.5 per cent.

The main Czech parties have focused predominantly in their election campaign on economic issues such as wages and regulations.

The booming domestic economy, which grew 4.7 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter, has helped to push unemployment in the country of 10.6 million to the lowest level in the European Union (EU), while wages have grown rapidly.

Eight parties would cross the five per cent threshold required for parliamentary representation, the survey showed.

Opinion polls give a firm lead to Mr Babis, a Slovak-born businessman who entered into politics in 2011 and has gained popularity by painting traditional parties as corrupt and incompetent.

However creating a new government may prove difficult for ANO because former finance minister Mr Babis faces a police investigation over an alleged EU subsidy fraud.

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