Former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš was re-elected as chairman of the ANO party despite defeat in October’s elections.
On Saturday’s party congress, Babiš reaffirmed that ANO, affiliated to Renew Europe group, would remain a “catch-all” political party and spoke about his possible presidential candidacy.
Babiš was the only candidate for the post of ANO chairman and received 76 of 95 votes. During his speech, he criticised the current five-party ruling coalition and media.
“The entire carpet-bombing of our movement was carried out with the loud support and applause of many journalists,” Babiš said.
“They talked about the end of democracy, about being dragged to East, about interfering in police investigations and other and other nonsense that never happened,” former PM added.
Babiš also mentioned the upcoming presidential elections but did not say whether he would run in them. However, he said that the ANO party must field a candidate to unite society and represent the Czech Republic well abroad.
The next presidential elections will take place in 2023. As the president is elected directly by the citizens, Babiš’s popularity among the public could propel him to the post.
In October’s elections, the ANO party received 27.1 % of votes, only 0.6 points less than winning conservative coalition SPOLU.
Former Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlíček, who became the party’s first deputy chairman, supports Babiš potential presidential candidacy.
If Babiš becomes the president, Havlíček would be his likely successor as ANO leader and the party’s PM candidate.