Czech minority coalition government faces no-confidence vote

PRAGUE — The Czech coalition government led by populist Prime Minister Andrej Babis was facing a parliamentary no-confidence vote Thursday over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Five opposition parties also requested the vote as prosecutors are looking into whether to indict Babis over alleged fraud involving European Union funds. A recently published EU report concluded that Babis has a conflict of interest over EU subsidies involving his former business empire in a separate case.

Babis denies any wrongdoing.

The opposition lawmakers have also criticized the government for failing to secure enough support for the country in its diplomatic dispute with Russia over the alleged involvement of Russian spies in a massive ammunition depot explosion in 2014.

Babis’ centrist ANO (YES) movement is in a minority government with the leftist Social Democrats. It has recently lost its support from the Communist Party.

But the opposition doesn’t have enough votes to oust the government after the Communists indicated they were not planning to vote against the government.

Event if the opposition succeeds, President Milos Zeman said he would ask the government to stay in office until a parliamentary election scheduled for early October.

The Czech Republic has been one of the hardest-hit European countries by the pandemic. The nation of 10.7 million people had almost 1.7 million confirmed cases with over 30,000 deaths. The falling numbers of new cases recently has made it possible for the government to relax its coronavirus restrictions.

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