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Populist Babis's Party Scores Big Victory In Czech Parliament Elections


Populist Andrej Babis's centrist ANO movement has won a decisive victory in the Czech Republic's parliamentary elections, paving the way for the billionaire to become the country's next prime minister.

Results released late on October 21 showed the ANO movement with 29.6 percent of the vote, about three times as much as any other of the nine parties that secured seats in parliament's lower house.

The votes would give ANO 78 of the 200 seats in parliament.

Babis, 63, is the county's second-richest man, leading a media empire that includes two major newspapers and a radio station.

He campaigned on a Euroskeptic and antiestablishment platform. Still, he said he would not pull the country out of the European Union, although he would not bring in the euro currency to the Czech Republic.

Babis has been linked to several scandals, including being charged by police with fraud concerning EU subsidies.

He will need to put together a coalition to govern, and it was not immediately clear which parties he would look to cooperate with. Several parties have said they would not work with Babis.

The opposition conservative Civic Democrats came in a distant second with 11.3 percent, or 25 seats.

The Pirate Party won seats for the first time, coming in third with 22 seats. The most radical antimigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-EU party -- Freedom and Direct Democracy -- ended up in fourth place, also with 22 seats.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, Reuters, and dpa
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