Czech PM to submit government resignation in 2nd half of May

Sobotka is also promising to increase taxes for banks and selected businesses, saying foreign owners take too much money out of the country.

Recently, such a majority of lawmakers pushed through the lower house's resolution asking Babis to explain his suspicious purchase of untaxed one-crown bonds from his Agrofert Holding, Shabu writes.

Ranked by Forbes as the Czech Republic's second wealthiest citizen, Babis has flatly denied any wrongdoing and labelled Sobotka's decision "absolutely tragic" and "desperate".

Though they may not want to see each other again, the politicians still have to solve a political crisis triggered by Sobotka's recent resignation announcement.


Mr Sobotka's left-wing Social Democratic Party has been in coalition with the centrist ANO party led by Mr Babis and the KDU-CSL party since 2014. Czech President Milos Zeman will control what happens next. Markets have a tradition of casting aside Czech political shenanigans, assured by the strength of the country's institutions.

ANO's program is vague, and unlike conservative-nationalist leaders like Hungary's Viktor Orban or Poland's Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Babis has no clear-cut ideological profile.

Babis has often quarreled with the left-wing Social Democrats in the government. "I expected to hold standard talks with the president". He is also widely understood to prefer Babis to Sobotka. Zeman caused a scandal in late 2013 as he kept a temporary cabinet he had appointed in place for months in a move many critics called a coup. Zeman faces his own elections in January.

It's no secret that Czech President Milos Zeman is not a fan of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. The only politician in the Czech Republic who could run against him and win is Czech Defense Minister (and former actor) Martin Stropnicky - who, as a member of ANO, answers to Babis.


"It seems that Sobotka painted himself into a corner, and suddenly he didn't know what to do", Jakub Charvat, a political analyst from the Metropolitan University in Prague, said by phone.

"That's the reason I'm opting for the only reasonable solution which is available, and that's the government's resignation", he said during a hastily organised news conference. The likeliest option could be that Zeman simply doesn't accept the resignation and lets the next five months or so play out on its own.

Sobotka said on Tuesday he could fire Babis, but that would mean his rival would be given extra time to campaign ahead of the upcoming vote.



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