Some Civic Democrat MPs may not vote for Vaclav Klaus in '08

President Vaclav Klaus, photo: CTK

President Vaclav Klaus has made no attempt to hide his lack of enthusiasm for the new coalition government. In the months of political deadlock that preceded the appointment of the new administration, the president and Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek clashed on a number of occasions over the president's reluctance to appoint a government supported by rebel MPs. This has led to speculation that support for the president within his own party may have suffered as a result. Some analysts even say this could have an impact on his re-election next year.

President Vaclav Klaus, photo: CTK
Opinion polls have repeatedly shown that President Vaclav Klaus is hugely popular with the general public. But it seems the president is not so popular within his own Civic Democratic Party. According to the newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes, some Civic Democrat MPs have indicated for the first time that they may not vote for his re-election in 2008. Many in the party are unhappy at the way Klaus handled matters during the recent political stalemate before the appointment of the new government.

Some questioned his tactics in pushing for a broader agreement "forcing" the Civic Democrats together with their rivals on the political Left. He has also not won any friends with his very public lack of enthusiasm for the new coalition government.

President Vaclav Klaus, photo: CTK
Political analyst Petr Just agrees the president's popularity within his own party may have suffered as a result.

"Although Mr Klaus' position remains strong, his activities especially during negotiations following 2006 certainly complicated matters within his own political party."

To be elected, the president needs a majority of at least 141 votes out of 281 in both chambers of Parliament. As the Civic Democrats have 122 of these votes, Mr Klaus would probably need their support to ensure he is re-elected. But now it is not so clear whether the party the president founded would back his re-election. Petr Just, however, suggests there is more "bark" than "bite" behind this threat.

"I think that these statements are meant mostly as a kind of 'small revenge' for Vaclav Klaus: they are trying to show that he didn't behave towards his political party the way 'he should'. They are trying to show him that his re-election is nothing automatic. That said, I think that 100 percent of Civic Democratic MPs in both house of Parliament will vote for Vaclav Klaus. It's a kind of game: they may not all support him in the first or second rounds, but they will in the third. It's just to show him he can't count automatically on their support."