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Czech lawmakers pass divisive conflict of interest amendment

Associated Press Associated Press 29/11/2016

PRAGUE — Czech lawmakers have approved legislation to limit the business activities of future government ministers.

The legislation, approved on a 125-42 vote in Parliament's lower chamber, would ban ministers from owning media, and bar companies in which ministers have more than a 25 percent stake from receiving state subsidies and participating in public tenders.

The ANO (YES) movement led by Finance Minister Andrej Babis — who owns two major newspapers and Agrofert conglomerate which receives state subsidies — voted against.

The bill still needs presidential approval. ANO is considering whether to take legal action, but isn't planning to withdraw from the government.

ANO is a favorite to win parliamentary elections in 2017, paving the way for Babis to become the prime minister — on condition he abides by the law.

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