Babiš-led anti-EU party gets more support in the Czech Republic

A recent poll by Median in the Czech Republic found that 35% of Czech people would support the ANO party (Renew) in the European Parliament elections in June 2024, Euractiv reported.

At the same time, analysts have noticed a growing anti-EU stance of the ANO party, led by a former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.

The present opposition party in the Czech Republic, ANO, had 35% support among voters in December, the poll found. Second place would go to the ruling ODS (ECR) with 13%, followed by ODS’s coalition partners, the Pirates (Greens/EFA), with 10.5%. The extreme right-wing SPD (ID), which received 9% of the vote, would come in fourth.

The ANO party’s base of support is shifting from the elderly to younger voters.

“People aged 35 and older most commonly choose the ANO movement,” the Median agency stated.

It would have the support of about 50% of voters in the 65+ age group. The report went on to say that it topped all educational categories, including those with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

By winning a seat in the European Parliament in June, ANO will have proven its durability. The anti-EU stance of ANO is hardening in the run-up to the elections.

According to Euractiv, Babiš holds the EU responsible for the spike in energy prices seen by Czechia as a result of the war in Ukraine. Additionally, he likens the European Union to an “octopus” that plans to use its financial might to influence the prime ministerial elections in member states.

Moreover, ANO raises doubts about providing Ukraine with ongoing military assistance. “Anything is possible. We have been supporting Ukraine for two years, and it has not led to any results. It has not affected the front,” former Czech Defense Minister Lubomír Metnar (ANO) told CNN Prime News on Sunday.

The ANO party’s slate of candidates for the 2024 election is still in the works.

In 2019, most of the ANO candidates were liberals, like the current vice president of the European Parliament, Dita Charanzová. However, in 2024, the list will consist mainly of Babiš loyalists, with Klára Dostálová, a former regional development minister, as a leading candidate.

We recall that in November 2023, Prague’s highest court overturned the acquittal of former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš in the case of misuse of European Union subsidies, known as the Stork’s Nest case (Čapí hnízdo).

The Stork’s Nest case concerns a 50 million euro grant from the European Union to construct a conference center in the central Czech Republic. The prosecutor’s office accused Babiš’s former advisor, Jana Nagyova, of subsidy fraud and damage to the EU’s financial interests and Babiš himself of aiding and abetting subsidy fraud.

The controversial populist billionaire Babiš ran in the presidential election in the Czech Republic in January 2024 but lost to Petr Pavel in the second round.

The 64-year-old Babis is the son of a top communist official who represented Czechoslovakia at the Geneva General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. He is thought to have joined the communist party in 1980.

Babis worked for the StB as an unofficial “trusty” before developing into a full-fledged agent, according to Radek Schovánek, an authority on security files from the communist era for the Czech defense ministry. Babis’ 12 remaining security files – others have been destroyed – clearly show that he joined deliberately, according to Schovánek.

During the initial Slovakian prosecution, Schovánek, a witness against Babis, stated that his actions may have been far more widespread than what is shown in the files, which were made public in the early 1990s.

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