Government toppled in confidence vote
The minority Civic Democrat government of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek lost a confidence vote in parliament on Tuesday, triggering the fall of his cabinet and edging the country closer to early elections. The seemingly endless political saga thus drags on: four months after inconclusive general elections the Czech Republic still lacks a real government.
The drawn out political crisis has already lasted for four months and it seems that the only long-term solution lies in early elections. Unfortunately, Czech law does not make this process easy. There must be three failed attempts at forming a government after which the president could dissolve parliament and new elections could be held within sixty days. Or - alternately, early elections could also arise through constitutional change where a three fifth majority in both the lower house and the Senate would agree to shorten the term of the lower house. The latter seems highly unlikely because of the deadlock in the lower house. The former prime minister and Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek does not want early elections he wants a turn at forming a new government so the chances are neither his party nor the Communists would make the way to early elections easy.
In the meantime, the country will most likely be governed by the minority Civic Democrat government. Although Prime Minister Topolanek has said he will resign next Wednesday, the president will almost certainly ask him to remain in office until a new cabinet can be appointed.
Probably the only good thing about the whole affair is that so far the economy is strong and has suffered few ill-effects. However economists warn that this may not last indefinitely.