Billionaire Premier Takes Control of Big Cities But Not Prague

(Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Prime Minister Andrej Babis’s party swept to power in most Czech regions in weekend municipal elections but failed to keep control of Prague, the country’s richest city.

The two-day ballot, which ended on Saturday, showed that Babis’s ANO party remains the most popular group in the country a year after it won general elections. His coalition government won confirmation in July with help from Communist lawmakers.

ANO won most votes in 11 of 13 regional capitals. It lost control over Prague, which was Babis’s key goal ahead of the ballot, to the opposition Civic Democrat by a margin of only 2.5 percentage points, according to results from the Czech statistics office.

The premier’s ally, the Social Democrats, have lost about half of their municipal mandates across the country and won’t have any representatives in the Prague city assembly for the first time since 1990, public television calculations showed. The result won’t have any impact on cooperation within the coalition, Babis told reporters late Saturday.

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