Czech media mogul Babis’ bid for parliament threatened by lustration decree
A decree by the Czech president, Milos Zeman, stating that all parliamentary candidates must have lustration certificates, could threaten billionaire Andrej Babis’ entrance into government due to alleged collaboration with Communist-era secret police, the StB, the Czech media reported, Nov.4.
“This [the lustration requirement] might pose a problem for ANO chairman Andrej Babis,” Czech news website, Ceske Noviny, reported. “Before 1989, the communist secret police StB kept a file of Babis as their collaborator, codenamed Bures.”
Lustration is an initiative which vets individuals entering politics in countries from the former Eastern block. It was implemented to make sure that individuals who committed human rights abuses, and especially those who collaborated with the Communist-era secret police are not reelected to government.
Babis denied the allegations saying that they were part of a slur campaign ahead of the elections, which took place on Oct. 25-26. The lustration certificate requirement could be problematic for the potential coalition between election winner, the Social Democrats (CSSD), who gained 26 percent of the vote, and the ANO movement, which gained 18 percent of the vote.
The CSSD may try to form a coalition with ANO and the Christian Democrats, despite earlier announcements that cooperation with Babis’ party was not an option.
Babis, who made his fortune through the agricultural sector, is currently the Czech Republic’s second-richest person. He also owns the MARFA media group which publishes the leading dailies Lidove noviny and Malada fronta.
The Bratislava born millionaire lodged a criminal complaint against the Slovak National Memory Institute (UPN), which holds the StB documents, earlier this year in a bid to erase his name from the files. A court case is scheduled for the beginning of 2014.