A crucial week for the two largest parties in post-election negotiations
This week is likely to be a crucial one in deciding the next government, but what kind of a government might it be? The Civic Democrats, who won the election, say that there are only two viable options: their minority government supported across the political spectrum by everyone but the Communists - or early elections. The Social Democrats who came in second, on the other hand, have been pushing for something quite different: some kind of agreement that would see them maintain no small measure of political influence.
"The Civic Democrats - as the winners of the election - are offering all democratic parties the option of a Civic Democrat minority government as a solution to the political stalemate."
By comparison, the Social Democrats' have been proposing something quite different: a semi-caretaker government in which both experts put forward by them - and a majority of Civic Democrats - would hold key posts. So far, Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek has seemed confident an agreement will be reached by the end of the week: that's when President Vaclav Klaus explicitly made clear he would like to see substantial progress. The question is who - if anyone - will budge. We asked political analyst Borivoj Hnizdo to discuss how he saw the situation:
At the same time, Borivoj Hnizdo says:
"It is quite clear that the Social Democrats don't want to see early elections, particularly the Social democrats want some kind of agreement."
Two more days remain for both parties to at least lay the foundations for an agreement but what the details of any such deal might be are unknown and in case probably nowhere near decided yet. One final interesting development is that a new poll released by Factum Invenio more than two months after the election, now shows the Civic Democrats have gained in popularity despite the deadlock, jumping from around 35 to 41 percent since June. Social Democrat support, by comparison, has dropped by 2 percentage points to 30. That probably doesn't mean much, but certainly party members will hope it will provide Mr Topolanek with a slight psychological edge as further negotiations loom.
"I think that there will be a coalition between the Social Democrats and the Civic Democrats rather than new elections. I think that they will make some concessions and that they will reach a deal."
"I don't know: I think they'll probably reach a deal. At least some of them must be intelligent. Do you know what it would cost to hold early elections? It's their problem if they want to spend taxpayers' money. But, I certainly wouldn't vote again. I just did."
"I think that there will be early elections. For two months they've been unable to agree on anything, so that's the way it has to be."