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Czech Republic

Yearbook 2018

Czech Republic. According to, the Czech Republic was hit by a government crisis since the election the year before. The victor Andrej Babiš and his party Ano (Disgruntled Citizens' Action) got no coalition partners, as one of Babiš companies was investigated for cheating with EU grants. Babiš and Ano sought to form a minority government but voted down in parliament in January. President Miloš Zeman gave Babiš another chance to form a government and in the meantime lead an expedition minister.

2018 Czech Republic

Zeman himself faced presidential elections. The EU and immigrant-critical but Putin- and Trump-friendly Zeman were challenged primarily by Jiř Drahoš, former president of the Czech Academy of Sciences. Drahoš warned of both Putin and populism, emphasizing the importance of education, science and environmental care.

Zeman won the first round of the presidential election with just over 38% of the vote against just over 26% for Drahoš. Nine candidates took part in the election and the two main ones made a decisive round at the end of January. The two diametrically different candidates had equal support in public opinion, which was seen as evidence of the nation's deep divide. However, Zeman was the strongest in the TV debates and won the second round with just over 51% of the vote against just under 49% for Drahoš.

When Miloš Zeman was installed in March for his second term as president, he attacked a mining magnate and media mogul and his media, who often criticized him. Zeman also accused state-run Czech TV of bias. The speech was widely criticized, and in Prague, thousands of people demonstrated against Zeman and against Babiš and in support of freedom of speech.

Negotiations between Prime Minister Babiš Party Ano and the Social Democrats to form a coalition broke down in April. The news was followed by demonstrations in Prague with protests against Babiš and demands for "a decent government".

President Zeman wanted the Czech Republic to follow the example of the United States and move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The government, however, stuck to the EU's line on the matter but assigned honorary consulates and the Czech cultural center to Jerusalem. When the EU voted in favor of joint condemnation of the US embassy move, the Czech Republic vetoed it. When Zeman later visited Israel, he promised to do his best for an embassy move, but noted that he was unfortunately not a dictator.

The Babiš minority government relied in Parliament on the support of the Communists and the right-wing party Freedom and Direct Democracy. In June, however, Babiš managed to form a coalition with the Social Democrats. It was also in the minority but was supported by the Communist Party and approved in Parliament.

The government party Ano ran an immigrant-critical policy, and in November the government decided to withdraw from the UN's new global framework for migration, like several neighboring countries.

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