PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech lower house of parliament gave its backing early on Thursday for a new, center-left minority Cabinet led by billionaire Andrej Babis, ending his nearly nine-month struggle to secure a parliamentary majority, an unofficial vote count showed.

The government, combining Babis' ANO party and the Social Democrats, relied for support in the vote on the Communist Party, giving it a say in forming the cabinet for the first time since the fall of Communism in former Czechoslovakia in 1989.

(Reporting by Petra Vodstrcilova and Jan Lopatka; Editing by Leslie Adler)