Czech election: Babiš remains frontrunner with presidential backing

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Czechs will head up to the polls on Friday for parliamentary elections against the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis and its social and economic consequences.

The elections will also focus on the fight between the country's prime minister, billionaire Andrej Babiš, who leads the ANO party, and his opponents.

Immigration and the country's relationship with the EU are two key issues that could weigh in Babiš' favour, analysts say.

But the election is also a referendum on Babiš, who is opposed by two newly-united coalitions, the centre-right political alliance SPOLU, and the liberal progressive Pirátská Strana (Pirate Party).

Babiš' ANO party leads the polls with about 27%, but could likely struggle to build a coalition.

But the president, Milos Zeman, has already said he will use his presidential powers to appoint the leader of the party that gets the most votes as prime minister.

"Babiš has a very strong ally in President Milos Zeman [...] and because the main opponents of Babiš are two coalitions which Zeman doesn’t recognise as political subjects, he is going to appoint Babis again," political analyst Jiri Pehe told Euronews.

Meanwhile, the Pirate Party's is hoping its election campaign slogan "Return the future to the country" appeals to the young generation.

"Lying is the crutch of incompetent people. Prime Minister Babiš has to lie to others, but for us it's enough to tell the truth about him," Pirátská Strana leader Ivan Bartos said.

The parliamentary elections will start on October 8 and close on October 9.

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