A two-day general election begins today in the Czech Republic. A populist billionaire who has campaigned on an anti-establishment platform is predicted to win the biggest share of the vote, BBC said.
Polls open at 14:00 local time and close at 22:00. They will open again on Saturday morning and close in the afternoon.
Andrej Babis, who has inevitably been described as a Trump-like figure, is a clear election favourite, the German magazine's server Zeit writes. Andrej Babis, 63, is estimated to be worth $4 billion, making him the country's second richest man.
In 2013, Babis's party, the Action of Dissatisfied Citizens (ANO), an acronym that spells "yes" in Czech, won 18.65 percent in national parliamentary elections. The party became a junior partner in a coalition with the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats(CSSD). Babis became finance minister.
Political scientists Duncan McDonnell and Daniele Albertazzi's study of Italy and Switzerland shows that parties employing anti-establishment and populist appeals face a choice when they get into power: Either shed the anti-elite appeals and become mainstream or try to maintain a protest stance and outsider appeal, the Washington Post writes, Babis has followed the second strategy.
Despite being finance minister and a deputy prime minister, Babis has continued to project himself as apart from the system. He frequently criticizes the "old" established parties — including his coalition partners — contrasting his experience of the effective world of business with the dirty world of politics. When he was accused of tax evasion and sacked as finance minister in May, he claimed it was part of a conspiracy to remove him from politics, a charge he used to bolster his anti-establishment credibility.
The people spreading fear of open Europe may win the general election in the Czech Republic, Zeit writes, apart from ANO, far-right and far-left parties are also predicted to make gains.