Are biggest parties heading for a "coalition agreement"?
It's been over a month since Czechs went to the polls and yet the country still lacks a new government. With the number of seats in parliament split equally between the left and the centre and right parties, attempts at forming it have so far gone nowhere. Early elections have been ruled out by all parties but talks on forming coalitions or minority governments have also failed to make headway. A new development on Tuesday, though, could lead to another way out of political deadlock. Dita Asiedu reports:
On Monday, an invitation by Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolanek for the Social Democrats to join a four-party coalition was also rejected. This would have allowed the Social Democrats to be part of the new government but would have made it difficult for them to dissolve it, should they decide to leave the coalition some time in the future.
Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolanek was quick to reject the offers: "We have signaled long enough before the elections that both such proposals are unacceptable to us," Mr Topolanek said. But Mr Paroubek also offered to join forces with the Civic Democrats and change the electoral law: "We would consider making such changes, which would strengthen the bigger parties," Mr Paroubek said.
The latest developments have set the stage for talks on an opposition agreement - one that Czechs are already familiar with. Under such an agreement, from 1998 to 2002, the Social Democrats formed a minority government and won parliamentary approval in exchange for the Civic Democrats gaining the chairmanship of the Chamber of Deputies. Vaclav Klaus, who led the Civic Democrats at the time, welcomed the deal as it was a way of knocking out the smaller parties in parliament. The same agreement could be signed again - only this time it would be the Civic Democrats in government.