Czech Government survives coalition crisis

The Czech centre-left government, led by the Social Democrat Vladimir Spidla, survived a brief crisis of the three-party ruling coalition. The leaders of the three parties agreed on a re-shuffle following a row over tax increases to pay for the damages caused by the recent disastrous flooding.

The crisis started on 13 September when one of the Freedom Union’s deputies, Hana Marvanova, voted against her government’s package of tax increases. Following the vote, Premier Spidla threatened to eject the Freedom Union from the government after parliament rejected a package of tax increases to help pay for the country’s recent disastrous flooding.

Leaders from the three coalition parties – the Social Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union – met on 15 September and agreed that the Freedom Union would have to give up one or two of its three ministers as a punishment. All three parties confirmed their interest in the coalition continuing, although under different terms.

The Freedom Union party asked MP Marvanova to give up her parliament seat, but she refused.

Mr Spidla insisted that he would propose the tax increase until it was passed.

The crisis casts doubts over the ability of Mr Spidla’s government, which took office on 16 July 2002, to serve its full four-year term or to see through the country’s accession to the EU in 2004.


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