Prague protesters against Andrej Babis and Justice Minister Bensova

Matt Atlas

Can Protesters Take Down Babis? – The Economist

The Economist reports on the current wave of protests against billionaire Babis and Justice Minister Bensova and contemplates if Babis can survive the crisis.


It was the biggest so far of a series of weekly demonstrations against the Czech government. On May 21st some 50,000 protesters, more than double last week’s number, gathered on Wenceslas Square, the focal point of the Velvet Revolution in 1989 and the anti-communist revolt in 1968, to rail against Andrej Babis, a billionaire industrialist who has been prime minister since October 2017.


The protesters are incensed by Mr Babis’s latest attempt to capture the Czech Republic’s institutions by replacing Jan Knezinek, the justice minister, with Marie Benesova, a loyal foot soldier of Milos Zeman, the president and an ally of the prime minister’s. Mr Babis is facing criminal charges related to his alleged misuse of 50m koruna (€2m) in European Union funds earmarked for small businesses. Mr Knezinek was pushed out a day after the police recommended Mr Babis be charged for fraud. Protesters fear that Ms Benesova will now slow down or even prevent the prosecutor from indicting Mr Babis (along with his wife and other members of his family, also implicated by the police). If convicted, the prime minister could face between five and ten years in prison. Mr Babis, who portrays himself as the target of a political witch-hunt, has vowed not to resign even if he is indicted.


The article in it can be found at The Economist