THE Czech president asked billionaire Andrej Babis yesterday to try to form a new government after his party won parliamentary elections.
Mr Babis’s Ano (Yes) party won 78 seats in the 200-seat lower house earlier in October.
Ano won 53 seats more than the second-placed conservative ODS party and 56 more than the third-placed Pirates party. The far-right SPD came fourth and the Czech communists fifth.
Mr Babis, the country’s second-richest man, founded his party “to fight corruption” in Czech politics.
He was minister of finance for three years until May and has been accused of cracking down on small companies while ignoring wrongdoing by big business — including his own Agrofert conglomerate.
He had his parliamentary immunity stripped in September as part of a two-year investigation into allegations that he controlled a company that illegally received European Union subsidies. His colourful background has led other parties, including former coalition partners, to rule out helping him form a government.