President vetoes divisive conflict of interest amendment

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PRAGUE (AP) — Czech President Milos Zeman has vetoed legislation that limits the business activities of future government ministers.

It 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.

Zeman's office said Monday the amendment is not in line with the constitution. Parliament can override his veto by a simple majority in the lower house. If so, Zeman said he would challenge the amendment at the Constitutional Court.

Finance Minister Andrej Babis, who owns two major newspapers and Agrofert conglomerate which receives state subsidies, opposed the bill but didn't plan to withdraw from the government.

Babis' ANO movement is a favorite to win parliamentary elections in 2017.

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