Government survives no-confidence vote
Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek’s centre-right government survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament on Wednesday. The motion from the opposition Social Democrats won only 98 votes out of the overall 199 deputies present in the 200-member lower house. The three party coalition, which has been dogged by corruption scandals and weakened by internal strife once again showed that at times of crises it stands united.
So the question that comes to mind is – if the opposition hadn’t secured enough support what was the point of calling a no-confidence vote that was doomed to fail? In part the answer lies in the government’s fragile majority in Parliament which the opposition keeps testing. There is speculation that the opposition was counting on the current friction within the government over the bill on church restitutions – and the internal strife within the two smaller coalition parties - the Christian Democrats and the Greens. But it was fairly obvious that, whatever their problems, none of the three governing parties would “sink their own boat”, particularly in a public vote. So it is far more probable that the opposition leader was simply seeking to attract more publicity, calling attention to the government’s alleged “failures and gaffes” in a very public manner.
As for the opposition leader, Jiři Paroubek, he has not come out of it in the best possible light. Commentators have made a point of noting that not so long ago he made a big deal out of offering the governing coalition a “cease-fire” or non-aggression pact in view of the Czech Republic’s upcoming EU presidency in 2009. And it has not escaped their attention that –if opinion polls are to be believed – the ruling Civic Democrats, whose popularity slid as they introduced painful reforms, is once again on the rise.