Election campaign for the Czech parliamentary election, October 2017

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Publication Date October 2017
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Background and further information:

The parliamentary election took place in the aftermath of an internal crisis affecting the coalition government at the final period of its mandate. This cabinet was formed by the Social Democrats, the ANO party and the Christian Democrats.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka started by announcing his resignation in May 2017 due to alleged financial irregularities of the government's finance minister, Andrej Babiš. Following a dispute with Czech President Miloš Zeman over the continuation of the cabinet, Mr Sobotka decided instead to dismiss Mr Babiš and replace him with a new finance minister.

The government crisis developed as opinion polls showed the decline of Mr Sobotka's Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) and wider victory margin for the ANO party, founded by Mr Babiš. Amid speculation of his continuation as the leader of the Social Democrats, Mr Sobotka announced his resignation as party leader on 15 June.

On 6 September 2017, the Czech Parliament voted to strip Mr Babiš of his parliamentary immunity after allegations of EU funding fraud emerged. His supporters called the move as an attempt to kill him politically ahead of the election.

Czech police formally charged Mr Babis, the frontrunner to become Czech prime minister in the parliamentary elections, with fraud on the 9 October 2017.

This feature follows the political campaign undertaken in the Czech Republic before the parliamentary election held on 20-21 October 2017.

The Ano party, led by billionaire media mogul Andrej Babiš, was ahead in the opinion polls. Commentators discussed the success of the populist and former finance minister, and predicted a difficult phase of coalition building.

Related Links
Politico, 11.09.17: Czech center left realigns with ‘pork-and-cabbage’ voters http://www.politico.eu/article/czech-election-2017-cssd-center-left-realigns-with-pork-and-cabbage-voters/
Euronews, 11.09.17: Czech government agrees public sector wage hike as election nears http://www.euronews.com/2017/09/11/czech-government-agrees-public-sector-wage-hike-as-election-nears
Reuters, 06.09.17: Czech state workers threaten strike over wages as vote nears uk.reuters.com/article/uk-czech-wages/idUKKCN1BH1WM
Prague Daily Monitor, 05.09.17: TOP 09 wants Czech Republic to play strong role in EU http://praguemonitor.com/2017/09/05/top-09-wants-czech-republic-play-strong-role-eu
Bloomberg, 05.09.17: Who Likes Europe? Czechs Don’t - and That’s a Big Issue in October Elections https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-05/who-likes-europe-czechs-don-t-and-that-will-shape-october-elections
Sputnik International, 07.09.17: 'EU Designed on Principle of Colonization of Central and Eastern Europe' https://sptnkne.ws/fvMQ
Prague Daily Monitor, 16.08.17: Record 31 parties apply for running in Czech general election http://praguemonitor.com/2017/08/16/record-31-parties-apply-running-czech-general-election
Politico, 17-20.10.17: Prague poised to turn away from Brussels http://www.politico.eu/article/prague-czech-republic-poised-to-turn-away-from-brussels-ano-andrej-babis/
openDemocracy: Can Europe Make It?, 20.10.17: Babiš’ Czech Republic: too thin a gruel? https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/michal-simecka/babi-czech-republic-too-thin-gruel
Blog: Vote Watch Europe: 19.10.17: Czech Elections 2017: MEPs Predict the Future Stance of Prague in International Relations http://www.votewatch.eu/blog/czech-elections-2017-meps-predict-the-future-stance-of-prague-in-ir/
Blog: LSE EuroppBlog, 16.10.17: Czech election preview: Is Andrej Babiš heading for a Pyrrhic victory? http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2017/10/16/czech-election-preview-is-andrej-babis-heading-for-a-pyrrhic-victory/
Euro|Topics: Debates: October 2017: Czech Republic: who is Andrej Babiš? http://www.eurotopics.net/en/187954/czech-republic-who-is-andrej-babis
The Guardian, 19.10.17: Czechs tipped to join populist surge in Europe by electing billionaire https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/19/czech-republic-andrej-babis-billionaire-agrofert-populism
The Conversation, 18.10.17: Controversial oligarch Andrej Babiš could be about to win the Czech election https://theconversation.com/controversial-oligarch-andrej-babis-could-be-about-to-win-the-czech-election-85796
ESO: Key Source: Czech legislative election, 2017 http://www.europeansources.info/record/czech-legislative-election-2017/
Deutsche Welle, 09.10.17: Czech prime minister candidate Andrej Babis charged with fraud http://p.dw.com/p/2lWPa

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