Czech govt resigns, president to push early vote

Czech President Vaclav Klaus accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek’s minority government on Wednesday, opening the way for talks on selecting a new Cabinet and possible early elections.

Klaus will meet with leaders from all five political parties in the lower house on Thursday. He has pledged several times to wait to nominate a new prime minister until after local and Senate elections that run until the end of the month.

Topolanek’s minority government was ousted in a parliamentary confidence vote last week after a lower house deadlock caused by an inconclusive June general election that left leftist and centre-right parties with 100 seats each.

Klaus said the Cabinet will stay on in a caretaker capacity until he appoints a new prime minister and government.

Under the Constitution, the president can nominate anyone he chooses as the next prime minister. Klaus said during the acceptance of the resignation he prefers the creation of an interim technocrat government followed by early elections.

”For us, for the citizens of the Czech Republic, we need a capable government,” he said.

”Given the post-election mathematics, the possibilities to build such a government have been exploited … Therefore, I think that the fastest way to have a [capable] government is through early elections.”

Klaus cannot call for an early election unless three governments fail to win a confidence vote. But he could get the parties to agree to a constitutional change, where a three-fifths majority in both the lower house and the Senate decide to shorten the lower house’s term.

The local elections on October 20 to 21, and the Senate vote the same weekend — with a second round scheduled for October 27 to 28 — will not directly impact the situation in the lower house.

But politicians are watching the results to see if the four-month stalemate has hurt their parties and whether they would fare better or worse if early elections were held.

Czech financial markets have shrugged off the political turmoil but analysts have warned that political paralysis may hit the crown currency if it drags on for several more months. — Reuters

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