President and prime minister sign amendments bringing Czech Republic closer to early elections

The Czech Republic is one step closer to early general elections, after President Václav Klaus and Prime Minister Jan Fischer signed a constitutional amendment on the dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies and an amendment to the election law that shortens certain election deadlines. The amendments were approved by both houses of Parliament on Friday. They will enter into force as of Monday.

Under a plan agreed by the main political parties, the Chamber of Deputies will dissolve itself on Tuesday and the president will call elections on November 6 and 7.

Elections had been called for October 8 and 9. However, they were cancelled by the Constitutional Court, which upheld a complaint by independent MP Miloš Melčák that a one-off amendment allowing for them was unlawful. Mr Melčák and another independent MP Juraj Raninec have said they may take the second constitutional amendment back to the court. However, Christian Democrat leader Cyril Svoboda pointed out on Sunday that once the lower house is dissolved they will lose the right to appeal to the Constitutional Court.

The Czech Republic has had an interim government since May. There are concerns that a failure to form a new political government in the near future would have serious consequences for the country’s budget for next year; if a 2010 budget is not approved in time, a provisional budget without needed spending cuts would enter into force.

Author: Ian Willoughby