Czech opposition group prevails in election over prime minister

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The Czech Republic’s opposition group prevailed over Prime Minister Andrej Babis’s party in this weekend’s parliamentary elections. 

The Three-party coalition, Together, won 27.78 percent of the vote in the two-day elections, narrowly edging out Babis’s ANO party which won 27.13 percent, Reuters reported.

A third opposition coalition, the Pirate/Mayors, came in third with 15.6 percent of the vote.   

Together and the Pirate/Mayors are set to win 108 of the 200 seats in the lower house of the Czech Parliament, according to Reuters.

Petr Fiala, who leads Together, said the groups have “brought a chance that we will stop getting in debt, that we will remain a part of democratic Europe,” the wire service. “The results are clear, the democratic opposition won a clear majority.”

While Babis conceded his coalition’s loss, he said that he would lead talks on forming a cabinet if he is appointed by President Milos Zeman, according to The Associated Press.

Zeman has previously said that he would allow the leader of the strongest party, not coalition, to form a new government, the outlet noted. 

Babis has faced multiple scandals during his term as prime minister, but his ANO party was still favored to win the two-day election. This election notably came just after the release of the Pandora papers, which raised questions about his financial dealings overseas.  

The Pandora Papers, released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, reveal that Babis paid $22 million for a villa in France in 2009. He appeared to have routed the money through shell companies in the British Virgin Islands, Washington, D.C., and a real estate management firm in Monaco.

Babis has denied wrongdoing, AP noted.

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