Coalition agreement signed but does new "government" have real chance?
After three long weeks of negotiations, the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Greens have just signed an agreement to form a government. But the centre-right coalition faces an uphill battle; one seat short of a majority, it cannot win a vote of confidence without the support of the Social Democrats. So, does the coalition agreed on Monday have a real chance of governing? Dita Asiedu reports:
The Communists have ruled out any support, so developments in the next few weeks could well hinge on the only party left in the lower house - the Social Democrats. Outgoing prime minister and Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek says his party will not be influenced by any posts it is offered but by the coalition's policy programme. Political commentator Petr Just:
"It's really quite general and I think that the Social Democrats could agree with most of the programme. But there are still at least three things that I think will be a little problematic. There is the flat tax, which is something that Mr Paroubek and the Social Democrats mentioned as one of the worst things in the Civic Democrats' programme. So, this is one major problem. The second is that the coalition agreed to abolish the law on non-profit hospitals, which was actually passed by the Social Democrats together with the Communists in the past month. The third issue on which I think they could clash is the deregulation of rent."
"Mr Paroubek is a very pragmatic leader. He knows what he wants to do and how to do it. I think he is thinking very much ahead and I am pretty sure that he is thinking about promising some kind of support for the coalition. Then, when Mr Zaoralek will be elected as speaker of the lower house, he could find something that will make him unable to support the government. This can happen easily at this time."
So although a new coalition agreement was signed on Monday, political analysts agree that we will have to see a lot more negotiating, and some concessions, if Czech voters are to be spared early elections.