Czech Republic says Andrej Babis will become new prime minister

Written by Staff Writer at CNN

Czech President Milos Zeman has appointed Andrej Babis as the country’s new prime minister.

President’s Twitter account posted Thursday evening that the billionaire businessman and founder of the Babis Science center will become Prime Minister for a maximum period of 7 months.

“People have to have an understanding about what politics means,” he said after calling the appointment

Babis, 68, was released from prison earlier this month after serving 2 years of a 4-year sentence for fraud.

Babis, who was investigated and jailed for lying to a fraudulently acquired land, intends to step down as head of his ANO party once appointed Prime Minister.

Babis, who according to a poll in the Czech Republic’s Politfer had 43.5% of the support of Czech voters, faces a tough battle to win parliamentary support.

Socialist Preneta Party leader Milos Zeman will nominate Babis as his prime minister-designate for the 7-month period, a statement from his office said.

Shortly after Babis was released from prison, hundreds gathered in Prague to denounce the move, accusing Zeman of being a “fascist.”

Addressing his supporters, Babis said he was “happy that my case was treated fairly and, at the same time, we must ask why it is treated differently to a normal person.”

“For the simple fact that I am pro-European, pro-multicultural, pro-immigrant.”

Babis added he had been accused of “lying, of being illegal and of having criminal convictions,” saying he felt he had been “invented in a psychobabble about me” that would all be cured “once I am left free.”

The four-party coalition government formed by Babis has currently the support of none of the parties at Westminster and the new government may be struggling to push through key policies to tackle unemployment and poverty.

Babis has to protect his winning track record for economic growth and reforms he has planned to confront a growing split among Czechs over migration.

But the international community has also threatened to freeze European Union funds to the country if Babis is elected.

Britain has said it will not discuss its transition agreement with any member state until the new government is in place.

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