In 2019, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s conflict of interest regarding an alleged misappropriation of EU funds polarized the country and generated large protests, calling for his resignation. The opposition has overcome fragmentation to form two coalitions (one liberal, one conservative) that are challenging the prime minister’s hold on power in the 2021 general elections.

The country’s GDP continued to grow in 2019, while public debt, unemployment, and inflation remained comparatively low. However, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on the economy as demand decreased and industrial production fell by 5.6%.

The handling of the COVID-19 pandemic amplified existing weaknesses in governance, like health care or a lack of digitalization in the educational area. However, it also underlined the country’s strengths, such as a functional institutional framework, healthy checks and balances, and civil society activism.

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