Peake suggests LIDEM may stay in government

The head of the Liberal Democrats (LIDEM), Karolína Peake, has suggested in an interview for Hospodářské noviny that it may be better if her party remains in the current coalition with the Civic Democrats and TOP 09 rather than go into opposition as earlier threatened. The decision, at least in part, she admitted, was influenced by an offer from MP Josef Dobeš, a former education minister, to secure support among a group of opposition MPs to prop up the government if LIDEM departs. Just before the holiday break, Mrs Peake was fired as defence minister, escalating the current government crisis. In response, her party leadership called on its remaining ministers to resign by January 10. LIDEM's top leadership will address the situation again in the new year; talks are also to be held with the other two parties in government.

The Czech news agency, meanwhile, reports there is growing speculation that the prime minister may push for General Vlastimil Picek, a former chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, to lead the ministry next. General Picek, who was deputy defence minister, was fired by Mrs Peake on her first day on the job.

Author: Jan Velinger