The Czech Republic’s minority government has resigned, plunging the country into deeper political turmoil, as its recently installed prime minister, Andrej Babiš, fights allegations that he abused an EU subsidy programme a decade ago. Wednesday’s resignation – a month after Babiš’ appointment – came a day after the government resoundingly lost a vote of confidence it had to win to stay in office. It will continue as a caretaker administration while the Czech president, Miloš Zeman, decides what to do. Zeman – a populist who has earned notoriety for xenophobic statements – had pledged to reappoint Babiš, a close ally, in the event of Tuesday’s confidence vote defeat, which had been widely anticipated.
But that promise may become meaningless because Zeman himself is now in political jeopardy after a worse than expected result in last weekend’s presidential election left him facing a nail-biting run-off against liberal opponent Jiří Drahoš next week.
Drahoš, 68, a former head of the Czech academy of sciences, has said he would not accept Babiš as prime minister because of charges filed against him by Czech police that one of his companies fraudulently obtained €2m (£1.75m) in European Union funds.