Former president Zeman calls for ex-PM Babiš to stay in politics

Zeman praised the former prime minister's personality, but criticized aspects of his campaign. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 27.04.2023 10:18:00 (updated on 27.04.2023) Reading time: 1 minute

Following a meeting with former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš Wednesday, ex-President Miloš Zeman said he hoped Babiš stayed in politics because he was the only one of “a few real personalities” left.

Zeman also expressed his doubts about whether Babiš would be able to form a cabinet if his ANO movement were to win the next general election in 2025. This is because Babiš would need to find a coalition party partner, which – given his unpopularity among many political circles – may be difficult to achieve.

According to Zeman, it would be tricky to find a partner who would “tolerate” Babiš. Zeman also noted that, despite being both right-wing, there were significant differences between ANO and the Freedom and Direct Democracy party, which is also currently in government.

Babiš made mistakes in campaign, says Zeman

Czechia’s former president backed Babiš during the 2023 presidential election. However, Zeman criticized Babiš for shortcomings in his campaign: namely using an inflammatory billboard to take a jab at now-President Petr Pavel, and also neglecting economic matters in his campaign. 

Babiš admitted that the billboard, which said that he was a diplomat rather than a soldier and would not take Czechia to war, a veiled hint at Pavel's military background, was a mistake. 

Zeman praised Babiš for his performance in the televised presidential debates, despite the fact that the former prime minister said he would not directly defend other NATO countries (such as Poland or Lithuania) if they were to be attacked.

ANO is currently comfortably leading in public opinion polls, with about 34.5 percent of the total vote share according to a survey released by the Median agency earlier this month. The government of current Prime Minister Petr Fiala was recently rated by the public as the worst in the past 10 years, although there is no talk of a no-confidence vote.

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