PM says he’ll put up a fight for himself and his cabinet

Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said on Sunday that the elections were a slap in the face from voters, but that he was determined to fight both for his government and his place at the head of the party. He made the statement on national television in the face of criticism from senior members of his own party, who said the entire Civic Democrat leadership should resign in the face of the party’s humiliating defeat.

Two of the party’s deputy leaders, Prague mayor Pavel Bém and Agriculture Minister Petr Gandalovič said it was obvious that the blame lay with the party leadership, rather than with the regions. Mr. Bém said the Social Democrats had turned the regional elections into a referendum on the Civic Democrats’ performance on a national level and the party leadership had failed the test. It had moreover done little to combat the aggressive election campaign of the opposition Social Democrats, Mr. Bém said.