Civic Democrats secure support for controversial tax hikes

The ruling parties have secured support for a package of controversial tax hikes that threatened to bring down the centre-right government. The six rebel Civic Democrat MPs who were holding out against the bill all bowed to pressure from the newly elected Civic Democrat leadership on Tuesday as the crucial vote, tied to a vote of confidence, neared. MPs Petr Tluchoř, Marek Šnajdr and Ivan Fuksa have said they will give up their seats in the lower house on Wednesday morning to enable the bill to pass. Two other MPs have promised to support the bill despite their strong reservations to it and the last of the six has said he will leave the assembly hall during the vote. The package of controversial tax hikes is a key component of the government’s austerity measures for 2013 aimed at bringing the deficit in public spending below 3 percent of the GDP. It is directly linked to next year’s state budget which will also be debated in the lower house on Wednesday.