Civic Democrat leader entrusted with the task of forming a new cabinet
It was an eventful day at Prague Castle on Wednesday. The outgoing Social Democrat prime minister Jiri Paroubek arrived to hand over his government's resignation to President Klaus and less than two hours later Civic Democratic party leader Mirek Topolanek was appointed prime minister designate. As the cameras flashed, Mr. Topolanek said he was hoping to present the country with a new government within a matter of weeks.
"If the Social Democrats influence both the policy programme and the government set up then we could call such a government a grand coalition not just a minority Civic Democrat government."
We have heard Mr. Topolanek say over and over again that he would not accept such a thing. Do you believe that still holds?
What are the chances of the prime minister designate saying this is simply not worth it - and choosing early elections over this alternative. We've already heard Mr. Paroubek say that he would only support a minority government with a limited two year mandate anyway. So what are the chances of early elections in the Czech Republic?
"Actually I think that the political situation will most likely lead to early elections - the only question is when. Mr. Topolanek has said that if there are to be early elections they should take place sometime next year because it would not be pragmatic to hold early elections shortly before the Czech EU presidency scheduled for the first half of 2009. Mr. Paroubek on the other hand is talking about early elections in 2008. It will all depend on the agreement reached between the Civic and Social Democrats. A written agreement between them could set the date for early elections or state under what conditions they would take place."
"It would be a minority government and any minority government has a harder time in office. It is clear that Mr. Topolanek would have to back down on some of his election promises - on some parts of his party's policy programme such as the much discussed flat tax. And some Civic Democrat voters might find this hard to accept."
Would they see it as a betrayal?
"They could. That will depend on Mr. Topolanek's diplomatic skills - on his ability to explain to his party's supporters that there was no better alternative under the given circumstances, much will pdepend on how he handles the PR of his government so to speak."