Czech President Names Finance Minister to End Government Crisis

(Bloomberg) -- Czech President Milos Zeman appointed a new finance minister on Wednesday, ending a month-long government crisis that escalated the conflict between the two main rivals for October’s general elections.

Zeman formally dismissed billionaire Finance Minister Andrej Babis and named Ivan Pilny, a former corporate executive and now a lawmaker for Babis’s ANO party, as his replacement at a ceremony in Prague.

Ivan Pilny, right, and Bohuslav Sobotka on May 24.

Photographer: Martin Divisek/Bloomberg

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka sought Babis’s removal, accusing him of past tax evasion. The second-richest Czech has repeatedly rejected these allegations. The two have been at odds for months, with their animosity escalating at a time when Sobotka’s Social Democrats are trailing ANO by a wide margin in opinion polls. The three-party coalition will remain in power after the reshuffle at the Finance Ministry.

Read more about the political crisis in a QuickTake Q&A

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