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article imageCzech opposition to seek confidence vote after PM's son claims abduction

By AFP     Nov 13, 2018 in Politics

Czech opposition parties on Tuesday decided to seek a no-confidence motion against billionaire Prime Minister Andrej Babis after his son claimed he had been forcibly sent abroad to hinder a fraud probe.

Babis, whom Forbes pegs as the second wealthiest Czech citizen, has been charged with breaking EU subsidy rules so that one of his firms qualified for EU development aid.

Babis denies wrongdoing, saying the claims are part of "a campaign aimed at destroying me and forcing me out of politics." He also said his son, who is 35, suffers from a mental illness.

Babis has come under fire after his son, Andrej Babis Jr., claimed that his father's aides had arranged for him to be taken to Crimea forcibly. According to Czech media, the incident could have happened last year.

He said his father's aides had done so to prevent police from questioning him in connection with allegations that Babis had abused EU subsidies to build the luxury Stork Nest resort near Prague in 2007-08.

Petr Fiala, leader of the right-wing ODS opposition party, told reporters on Tuesday that all six opposition parties in parliament had agreed "to call a no-confidence vote" as early as next week.

Centrist opposition parties which control 92 seats in parliament would need 101 seats to topple Babis, something that analysts say they are unlikely to achieve.

Babis heads a minority government composed of his populist ANO movement and CSSD social democrats, with 93 of the 200 seats in parliament.

They were able to form a viable coalition thanks to the tacit support of the KSCM Communists, who control 15 seats.

The CSSD and KSCM leaders said on Tuesday that they would first speak with Babis before making a final decision.

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