Babiš survives no-confidence vote

After 17 hours of parliamentary debate Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš narrowly survived a no-confidence vote on Thursday morning. Five opposition parties had called the vote after the Czech Republic saw its biggest protests in 30 years against the billionaire head of government who is facing charges of corruption. Why did the opposition's initiative fail?

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Večernji list (HR) /

Running out of morals

How could Prime Minister Babiš survive the no-confidence vote despite the biggest protests since the end of communism in the Czech Republic? Večernji list asks:

“One factor is the parliamentarians' mandate. They were only elected in 2017 and would potentially have to dissolve parliament if they had voted against Babiš, which for many would have meant the loss of their secure income as MPs. ... Either moral issues are no longer as important to people as they used to be, or everything has changed and politicians' dirty laundry is aired in public yet voters simply say: 'Well, they're like us'. Or perhaps all that counts nowadays is that we are doing well economically.”

Der Standard (AT) /

A vote for the lesser evil

The failure of the no-confidence vote against Czech Prime Minister Babiš has prevented an even worse outcome, Der Standard believes:

“The background is the truly pitiful situation of the Social Democrats (CSSD). ... The party is plagued by in-fighting and was even kicked out of the European Parliament in May. In the no-confidence vote it had to choose between a bad and an even worse option. It voted for the first option and kept Babiš so it could stay in the game itself. The second option would simply have meant that Babiš would look for another partner. ... An industrial magnate at the head of a government tolerated by communists and right-wing extremists would have been fatal not only from the point of view of the CSSD, but also for the Czech Republic as a whole - and for Europe.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

Majority still backs the PM

Despite the mass demonstrations and vote of no confidence in parliament the Czechs don't seem to have changed their minds about their prime minister, journalist Petruška Šustrová points out in Lidové noviny:

“Of course it's not good for the government to be led by someone who incites such fierce protests. Nevertheless for me what's important isn't Babiš but his voters. Are we to ignore them? No doubt it would be better if they could be convinced to vote for someone who is less divisive for the country. But you're not going to do that with hours of televised parliamentary debates. The demonstrations seem to make more sense than that. Nonetheless, I don't get the impression that the poll results are about to change.”