Czech minority coalition government faces no-confidence vote

PRAGUE (AP) – The Czech coalition government led by populist Prime Minister Andrej Babis faced a parliamentary vote of no-confidence on Thursday over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Five opposition parties have also called for the vote as prosecutors seek to indict Babis with alleged fraud involving European Union funds. A recently released EU report concluded that Babis had a conflict of interest over EU subsidies involving his former business empire in a separate case.

Babis denies any wrongdoing.

Opposition lawmakers also criticized the government for failing to secure sufficient support for the country in its diplomatic dispute with Russia over the alleged involvement of Russian spies in the massive explosion of an ammunition depot in 2014.

Babis’ centrist ANO (YES) movement is in a minority government with the left-wing Social Democrats. He recently lost the support of the Communist Party.

But the opposition does not have enough votes to overthrow the government after the Communists indicated they had no intention of voting against the government.

If the opposition is successful, President Milos Zeman has said he will ask the government to stay in power until a parliamentary election scheduled for early October.

The Czech Republic has been one of the European countries hardest hit by the pandemic. The nation of 10.7 million people had nearly 1.7 million confirmed cases with more than 30,000 deaths. The drop in the number of new cases recently has allowed the government to relax its restrictions on coronaviruses.

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