Prime Minister tells the Christian Democrats to play ball or leave the Cabinet
Although general elections in the Czech Republic are eight months away, this weekend marked the beginning of what commentators predict will be a tough election campaign. The impulse came from the ruling Social Democratic Party which held a meeting of its leadership over the weekend.
"Cooperation with the communists would enable the Social Democrats to overcome their isolation. They cannot govern by themselves and Communist support for a future minority cabinet could give them more manoeuvring space. It would mean that they could form a coalition without the Christian Democrats and there is now a strong aversion to the Christian Democrats within the Social Democratic Party, partly because of their blackmailing tactics."
"Well, I think they stand to gain some support by this move, on the other hand they may also lose some potential voters. It is hard to say in the long run whether it will serve the party's interests or damage them."
Despite the heavy-handed rhetoric we heard from both sides, few commentators actually think that the past weekend has brought early elections in the Czech Republic closer. But many are now speaking of a polarization of forces on the Czech political scene - which may not after all be such a bad thing in a country where political frontiers tend to be blurred.