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Czech election: Billionaire Andrej Babis poised to win


Czech election: Billionaire Andrej Babis poised to win

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Andrej Babis's ANO (Yes) party is predicted to win the biggest share of the vote

Czechs are voting in a two-day general election in which the favourite is a populist billionaire who has campaigned on an anti-establishment platform.

Andrej Babis, 63, is estimated to be worth $4 billion (£3bn) making him the country's second richest man.

His centrist ANO (Yes) party has a wide lead in the polls but is not expected to secure a majority.

Its current coalition partner, the centre-left Social Democrats (CSSD), is polling in second place.

Polls opened at 14:00 local time (12:00 GMT) and close at 22:00 (20:00 GMT). They will open again on Saturday morning and close in the afternoon.

  • Andrej Babis profile

Andrej Babis's party, which has campaigned on an anti-establishment, anti-EU and anti-corruption basis, is predicted to win the biggest share of the vote.

Far-right and far-left parties are also predicted to make gains.

This will put Mr Babis, who has faced numerous scandals including a fraud indictment and accusations he was a communist-era police agent, in pole position to become prime minister as part of a coalition.

If his party secures a majority, it is not known who Mr Babis will seek to form a government with.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Outgoing leader Bohuslav Sobotka (R) has had a turbulent relationship with Andrej Babis (L)

Currently, Social Democrat Bohuslav Sobotka heads a coalition formed after a 2013 snap election. This was triggered by the fall of the centre-right government of Petr Necas over a spying, sex and bribery scandal earlier in the year.

In May, Mr Sobotka submitted his government's resignation because of a disagreement with Andrej Babis, who was serving as finance minister at the time.

He was unhappy about alleged unexplained business dealings involving Mr Babis.

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