Czech Republic. The year was marked by political conflict surrounding Finance Minister Andrej Babiš and his private affairs. The fight went straight through the government, where Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka accused Babiš of tax fraud.
According to Countryaah.com, President Miloš Zeman vetoed a law that would restrict ministers’ business. In January, Parliament reviewed the veto and banned ministers from owning media companies. Furthermore, the participation of ministries in public procurement was limited, something Babiš made big profits on. Babiš owned media companies and was now unable to retain control of his corporate empire, worth approximately SEK 22 billion. The finance minister transferred his companies to foundations, but the opposition accused him of bypassing the law and retaining control through family members.
In February, the Minister of Industry was dismissed, when Prime Minister Sobotka felt he had failed to bring down the prices of mobile operators.
Parliamentary elections were announced until October. In the opinion, Babiš led the party of Ano (Disgruntled Citizens’ Action). Babiš was accused of populism but backed by promises to eradicate corruption and govern the country he runs the business. He promised tax cuts, was against the euro, criticized neighboring Germany’s refugee policy and demanded tougher border controls.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka’s Social Democrats instead opted for social issues with defense for the working class and tax increases for large companies and high-income earners.
In May, Sobotka surprisingly declared that he would resign as a result of the conflict with Babiš. Instead of dismissing Babiš and risking increasing his support for public opinion, Sobotka wanted the whole government to go. But President Zeman only approved Sobotka’s departure and not the government’s, which prompted Sobotka to sit back and request the president’s approval to dismiss only the finance minister. The president did not agree with that, but in that case wanted to see the government dissolved. Parliament entered the conflict with a resolution aimed at Babiš, where it was said to have led the people behind the light and as media company owners have used their own media as tools in the fight against political rivals. After a few weeks of fighting, Finance Minister Babiš resigned and resigned. Sobotka, in turn, resigned as party leader for the Social Democrats in June but remained as head of government. In August, the Czech police demanded that Parliament revoke Andrej Babiš’s legal immunity so that he could be prosecuted. A company owned by Babiš was suspected of forfeiting EUR 2.25 million in EU grants on false grounds. Babiš denied crimes and accused his political opponents of trying to get him off as a candidate in the elections. In September, Parliament decided to lift Babi’s legal immunity. In October, he was served on suspicion of a crime and a preliminary investigation was initiated. In September, Parliament decided to lift Babi’s legal immunity. In October, he was served on suspicion of a crime and a preliminary investigation was initiated. In September, Parliament decided to lift Babi’s legal immunity. In October, he was served on suspicion of a crime and a preliminary investigation was initiated.
In the parliamentary elections, the Babiš party Ano won a grand victory and took 31 new seats to a total of 78. The Social Democrats instead made a staggering loss, lost 35 seats, ended up at 15 and became only the sixth largest party. The Pirate Party entered Parliament with 22 seats, the same result as another newcomer, the right-wing extremist Freedom and direct democracy. With the election in the new parliament, Babiš regained judicial immunity, and he was given the task of the president to form a new government. However, because of the suspicions of fraud, Babiš found it difficult to get coalition partners and aimed at minority government. In December he was appointed prime minister and awaited Parliament’s approval.
In December, the European Commission sued the Czech Republic before the EU court for its refusal to accept the EU’s 2015 decision on refugee quotas.