Government resigns; president appoints prime minister designate
More than two months after general elections, the Czech Republic is preparing for a change of guard. The election of a new lower house leadership at the start of the week and the resignation of the Social Democrat government on Wednesday has finally cleared the way for a new administration. However its future is far from certain and the possibility of early elections is still very much on the cards.
After weeks of negotiations, Mr. Topolanek had to give up on the idea of a centre right coalition and he accepted the inevitable - one on one talks with his rival which would produce a tolerance agreement on a minority Civic Democrat government that would include both politicians and experts. Even now Mr. Paroubek insists on calling the shots - first he asked to approve the entire government line up - not just the unaffiliated experts, as earlier agreed. Then he announced that he would only tolerate a Civic Democrat government with a limited mandate of two years. "Two years is half a term, which seems reasonable given that the election result is basically a draw," Mr. Paroubek told journalists on Tuesday.
It is not the best start for the Civic Democrats -who have waited 8 long years to come back to power. On Wednesday Mirek Topolanek said he would negotiate with all parties but the communists and that his attempt to form a government should not take longer than two to three weeks. Anything beyond that would be untenable for the country, Mr. Topolanek said. Meanwhile, Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek is waiting in the wings, hungry for power and eager to be entrusted with the task of forming a new cabinet should his rival fail.