Senate approves early elections bill

The Senate on Thursday approved a constitutional amendment opening the way to early elections in October. The bill, which was approved by 56 of the 71 senators present, will enable an early dissolution of Parliament, an act which would not be possible under the Czech Constitution. It was drafted by the two strongest parties in Parliament as a way out of the political crisis following the collapse of the centre-right government in mid-March. A similar law was approved by Parliament in late 1997 after the fall of the Klaus cabinet. The bill’s opponents want the path to early elections to be facilitated through a permanent change in the constitution, but there is not enough support for the idea in the lower house.