New Czech government appointed

The newly appointed centre-right coalition government has slim chances of winning the vote of confidence in the Czech parliament, says EURACTIV’s editor in Prague.

The new Czech government was nominated on 9 January 2007, after the first minority government failed to win the parliament’s support in autumn 2006. Before Christmas, Czech President Vaclav Klaus had declined to appoint the government formed by Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek (Civic Democrats, ODS) saying that the three-party coalition had no support secured in parliament. 

The new government brings together the Civic Democrats, the Greens and the Christian Democrats, who together control 100 of the 200 seats in parliament. Thus, the chances of winning the vote of confidence in parliament appear very slim. In a sentence “…formed by Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek (Civic Democrats, ODS) saying that the four-party coalition had no support secured in parliament.

If the government fails, there may be a third chance, involving another vote of confidence, to form a goverment. If that attempt is also unsuccessful, fresh elections may take place, “which is the option that the majority of the population would prefer according to some opinion polls”, says Jan Vitasek, editor of EURACTIV.cz. Even if the government wins the parliament’s backing, no major reforms can be passed due to lack of stable support. 

Only a ‘grand coalition’ would have a chance of being approved by parliament. However, so far, all such negotiations have failed as parties have claimed it would be a “betrayal” towards their voters. In addition, parties disagree on ways to implement key reforms, such as public finances, pension systems and healthcare. 

Vitasek explains: “The problem in negotiations was that no one apart from the Social Democrats wanted to form a government with even a tacit support from the Communist party (KSCM) who is still perceived by the majority of Czech citizens as a non-democratic party. When the then leader of Christian Democrats, Miroslav Kalousek, attempted during August 2006 to form a government with the Social Democrats (CSSD) and tacit support from the Communists he was forced to resign by the members of his own party. However, all apart from a grand coalition (CSSD and ODS) would have to count on support from KSCM and it seems that no one is willing to do this.” 

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