Czech billionaire businessman Andrej Babis was on course on Saturday for a big win in a parliamentary election, projections showed, ushering his ANO party to power to cut taxes, lift investments and fight immigration.
Czech citizens are voting for a second day in a parliamentary election that could install another euroskeptic government in Central Europe. Betting on his anti-euro, anti-migrant and anti-corruption ticket, the head of the ANO (Yes) movement, Andrej Babis, topped opinion polls before the vote that ends on Saturday afternoon.
Final polls gave ANO about 25-27 percent support, at least twice that of the Social Democrats in second place.
Political analysts give the highest chance to the current coalition continuing with ANO at the helm, or an ANO tie-up with centre-right parties.
However, Babis also praises European Union membership and doesn't share the relatively illiberal ideology seen in governments in Budapest and Warsaw.
Babis is the founder of Agrofert, an agriculture, food, chemical, construction and media conglomerate based in the capital, Prague.
Concerns about Babis mainly centre on his strong managerial style and vast business influence that would be amplified by him becoming prime minister as well.
He also faces police charges that he illegally received a 2 million euro European Union subsidy when he ran his empire, before entering politics. Babis himself has promised to bring a businessman's touch to government, resonating with voters. He has denied wrongdoing, saying the charges were a plot by opponents keen to push him out of politics.
Babis's swipes at Brussels play well with eurosceptic Czechs and although immigration to the Czech Republic is virtually non-existent, fear of it has played a part in campaigning, with most parties taking a similar tough stance.
"His firm belongs to him but the state does not", Milos Ruml, a Prague pensioner, said after voting for the Social Democrats.