Former Czech PM Babis announces presidential candidacy

Former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis has officially announced his bid for the 2023 presidential election.

Babis on Monday emphasized that inflation in the Czech Republic, which rose to a worrying 18 per cent annual rate in September, is crippling citizens.

One of the wealthiest people in the Czech Republic, Babis is also leader of the Action of Dissatisfied Citizens (ANO), the largest single party in the country’s lower house of parliament. He is on trial for an alleged European Union subsidy fraud scheme, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to investigators, the former Prime Minister applied for subsidies to build a conference centre, dubbed the “Stork’s Nest”, that was meant to be earmarked for small and medium-sized businesses.

The President of the Czech Republic is chosen in a direct election, and serves a term of five years. Presidents can only win two consecutive mandates at most. The current Czech President Milos Zeman’s second term ends in early March.

The first round of the presidential election in the country will be held on January 13-14, 2023, while the second round could be held two weeks later if no candidate wins a majority.

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