January 16, 2018 / 3:19 PM / 4 months ago

Czech government loses confidence vote

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech minority government led by Prime Minister Andrej Babis lost a parliamentary vote of confidence on Tuesday, as expected, opening a period of possibly lengthy talks to form a new cabinet.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis attends a parliamentary session during a confidence vote for the newly appointed government he leads, in Prague, Czech Republic January 16, 2018. REUTERS/David W Cerny

Babis’s anti-establishment ANO party won by far the most votes in an election last October but fell short of a parliamentary majority. Other parties then refused to back its proposed cabinet, mainly because Babis is facing an investigation into alleged subsidies fraud. He denies any wrongdoing.

The government must now resign but it will remain in office — possibly for weeks or even months — while Babis seeks an agreement with other parties that could back a new ANO administration, with or without Babis at the helm.

Reporting by Robert Muller and Jan Lopatka; Editing by Catherine Evans

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