Andrej Babis, called the Czech Donald Trump, poised to become prime minister

Andrej Babis appears with his wife Monika in Prague on Saturday after Czech Republic elections. He is poised to become the next prime minister after his party dominated in voting for the parliament. Photo by Martin Divisek/EPA

Oct. 22 (UPI) — Billionaire candidate Andrej Babis, who has been referred to as the Czech Republic’s Donald Trump, is poised to become the nation’s prime minister after his party won the general election.

Babis, who campaigned on an anti-establishment platform, is set to form a coalition with unannounced partners in the 200-member Chamber of Deputies. In all, 8 million eligible voters cast their ballots at 15,000 polling stations on Friday and Saturday.

With more than 99 percent of the wards reporting, his centrist movement Action of Dissatisfied Citizens party received almost 30 percent of the vote, the New York Times reported.

The anti-establishment Czech Pirate Party and the far-right Freedom & Direct Democracy also fared well, with more than 10 percent each.

In 2013, Babis’ party drew the second-highest number of votes one year after its founding, leading to his ascension as finance minister.

Social Democrat Bohuslav Sobotka, the outgoing leader, headed a coalition formed with Babis’ party after a 2013 snap election. This time, the Social Democrats were sixth with 7 percent.

“I am happy that Czech citizens did not believe the disinformation campaign against us and expressed their trust in us,” Babis said in his victory speech at party headquarters. “We are a democratic movement, we are a pro-European and pro-NATO party, and I do not understand why somebody labels us as a threat to democracy.”

Babis, 63, is the second-richest man in the nation, with an estimated worth of $4.1 billion, according to Forbes. Babis owns or controls the country’s two popular newspapers and also owns farms, chemical plants and a Michelin-starred restaurant in the French Riviera.

Early this year, he placed his holdings in a trust to comply with a new Czech conflict-of-interest law that is nicknamed “Lex Babis,” or the Babis Law.

Like Trump, Babis has pledged to run the Czech state “like a business” and has a hardline stance against immigration.

When asked if his rise to political power was similar to Trump’s, Babis noted one exception.

“I was never bankrupt,” he told The Washington Post.

Older residents especially supported Babis’ bid for election.

“His opponents are just trying to tarnish him, and people don’t care about these political games,” Petr Sebor, 70, told The New York Times.


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