Coalition at Prague City Hall collapses

Prague City Hall, photo: Filip Jandourek

The coalition of ANO, the Social Democrats and the Three Coalition governing Prague has definitively collapsed, the Social Democrats confirmed on Tuesday, saying they had lost faith in the Three Coalition after it voted with the opposition on a policy previously agreed. The strongest party ANO as well as other potential partners will now be looking to strike a new agreement.

Adriana Krnáčová, Matěj Stropnický, photo: CTK
Cracks in the coalition at Prague City Hall began to appear earlier and were further widened when four of Prague’s 11 councillors were voted out last month. On Tuesday, coalition partners the Social Democrats confirmed they had lost trust in their partners, the so-called Three Coalition of the Green Party, the Christian Democrats, and the Mayors group – making clear the year-long agreement was a thing of the past. The Social Democrats charged that it was impossible to rule together when one partner was not reliable. Mayor Adriana Krnáčová, of TOP 09, agreed that the problem was a loss of trust.

“The Three Coalition voted in favour of a motion by the opposition and we agree that it is not possible to take such a step if you have an agreement.”

Members of the Three Coalition hit back, accusing the stronger members in the municipal government of machinations earlier which led to the eventual break-up. Three Coalition leader Petr Štepánek:

“When [our representative] Matěj Stropnický was voted off of the council, we said then that the coalition was dead. The Social Democrats began moves even earlier to dismantle it.”

The coalition still has at least several weeks of shelf-life remaining before a new one is agreed, not least because councilors have to agree on the city budget. That said, talks between potential partners have already begun. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, the national leader of the Social Democratic party outlined how he saw the situation and the party’s next step.

Prague City Hall, photo: Filip Jandourek
“The Social Democrats, through compromise, tried until the last minute to keep the [Prague coalition together]. Now, the party is reaching out to ANO, who have the strongest group as well as the mayorship. We are ready to communicate with ANO.”

No future coalition will be possible without the largest players; so eventually a deal will be struck with some of the smaller parties in the city assembly. ANO, however, refuses to deal with centre-right opposition party TOP 09, but made clear it was ready to hold talks with others in forming the new council.