Czech survivor cabinet hopes to lead EU


Just 70 days before it assumes the EU Presidency, the Czech centre-right government scraped through another no-confidence vote ahead of crucial Senate elections this weekend.

The Czech EU Presidency was the main subject of the debate ahead of yesterday’s (22 October) vote, with Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek insisting that his government was the only one which could guarantee that the Czech Presidency would “not be a failure”. 

Topolanek’s government, which comprises his Civic Democratic Party (ODS), the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) and the Greens (SZ), does not have a majority in Parliament and relies on a dozen independent MPs. In this, the fourth vote of no confidence Topolanek’s cabinet has survived since it took office in 2007, 96 MPs voted against the government and 97 in favour, whereas 101 votes are needed to topple the government. 

But Wednseday’s vote does not give much breathing space to Topolanek, with a second round of elections to renew a third of the upper chamber of Parliament taking place over the weekend (EURACTIV 20/10/08). The opposition Social Democrats and Communists are then expected to win a majority in the upper chamber. 

Analysts said Topolanek’s future is at stake in the Senate elections, predicting that he may be forced to step down. A caretaker government would then have to steer the EU in the first half of 2009. 

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