Analyst Petr Just: early elections in play but not a sure thing
In a week and a half's time, Czech MPs will vote on whether to dissolve the lower house with the aim of setting up early elections. Four parties capable of putting together the constitutional majority required have - at least on paper – agreed that early elections are the next step. But will the vote in the end be in favour? And what can we expect from President Miloš Zeman?
“I don’t think we know for sure. Even majorities declared weeks in advance have been shown to fall apart when it comes to the actual vote. And on Friday [since changed by MPs to August 20 - ed. note] we can’t know for certain which way it will go. The second factor is President Zeman. We can’t be certain he will act immediately if the lower house dissolves itself. While the Constitution says he has to act, it doesn’t say when.”
“Well it is and it should be. But given how Miloš Zeman has wielded power as president so far, I don’t think we can take it for granted. That, and the question of whether the parties stick to their promise next Friday and vote in favour, remains open. We’ll only know a little more then.”
Three of the parties backing early elections were in the recent opposition and one – TOP 09 – was a coalition partner in the last government. Curiously, the Civic Democrats are absent – they are still weighing their stance on the matter... Do you think that is significant? Some observers say that early elections are not to that party’s advantage.
What kind of campaign do you think we can expect from TOP 09 and, for example, from a party like Citizens’ Rights – Zemanites? That is the small party founded in the president’s name which is seen as having a good chance at increasing its influence.