Former populist prime minister and billionaire Andrej Babis wants to become president of the Czech Republic. Two and a half months before the elections, the opposition politician officially announced his candidacy for the highest office in the state last night. “The surveys don’t give me many chances, but I’m a fighter,” the 68-year-old said on Nova TV. This move was expected for months.
The founder of the ANO party is currently on trial as a businessman for aiding and abetting support fraud. Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala criticized his predecessor on Twitter, “In democratic countries, a politician resigns when he is accused, but Andrej Babis yearns for immunity in the castle.” Prague Castle is the seat of the President.
Currently in second place in the opinion polls
According to a survey conducted by the opinion research institute Stem/Mark about a month ago, 23 percent of respondents would vote for the former general and former head of the NATO Military Committee, Peter Pavel. Babis came in second with 17 percent, and former university president Danos Nerodova came in third with 14 percent.
Presidential elections will be held on January 13 and 14, 2023, with a run-off likely two weeks later. The second and final term of the current head of state, Milos Zeman, ends in March. In the Czech Republic, as in Austria, the president carries out mostly representative duties, but he is considered an important leader of opinion in the European Union and NATO member states.