Talks on forming a new government continue
It was a busy day at Prague Castle on Thursday where President Klaus received the outgoing Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla and held a series of one-on-one talks with the heads of three political parties on the formation of the next Czech government. The question who will be given the task of trying to set it up remains unanswered. President Klaus has asked for more time, telling newsmen that he would make up his mind within a matter of days. Nevertheless, some information on how the talks went did filter through to the press. Daniela Lazarova has been following the story and joins me now in the studio. So Daniela, how are things looking at the present time?
"Yes, he has, but whatever his plan is - it has clearly not convinced the President and the fact is that Mr. Gross has little option but to project a confidence he probably doesn't feel if he wants to keep his party in office. From what insider sources have leaked to the press Mr. Gross is engaging in some desperate behind the scenes bartering right now. He is still one vote short of a majority in parliament and he has to convince one deputy - either one of the two rebels from the outgoing coalition government or an opposition MP - to switch allegiances, so to speak. Clearly that person -were they from the opposition- would become an immediate outcast so the pay-off must be extremely lucrative -and there is a lot of speculation in the press as to what post might be involved. The thing is, though, that even if Mr. Gross were to succeed, he would have a very fragile government indeed - which could break down at any moment - and I think that this is what the President objects to most. Another disturbing aspect is that Czech politics seems to have boiled down to mathematics - politicians are playing with numbers and making deals among themselves to achieve their goals - which is not going down at all well with the public - because the idea of politics as a public service seems to have disappeared entirely."