Czechs start voting on Friday in parliamentary election tipped to hand power to Andrej Babis, a rich businessman turned politician pledging to sweep out traditional parties, boost investment and keep out refugees.
The central European country has enjoyed fast economic growth, a balanced budget and the lowest unemployment in the European Union, but opinion polls nevertheless show strong voter support for Babis’s ANO movement and other protest parties.
Although immigration to the Czech Republic is virtually non-existent, fear of it has played a big part in the campaign, with nearly all parties pledging to fight any attempts by the EU to force the Czechs to accept refugees distributed across the bloc.
The anti-immigration feelings follow similar trends in neighbouring countries. Parties opposed to immigration scored highly in elections in Germany last month and Austria last week, and have fed scepticism towards Europe across the EU.
The ANO movement, set up and tightly controlled by Babis, has won support from both the right and left with pledges to cut taxes and replace corrupt politicians, as well as calls to seal Europe’s borders and not accept a single refugee in the country. Read More
- Category: Europe