Two months after election no solution to political deadlock in sight
This Wednesday marks two months since the Czechs went to the polls to vote on the country's next government - an election won by the right-of-centre opposition Civic Democrats - but an election that ended in stalemate across the political spectrum. In the days following the result, outgoing Social Democrat Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek promised that his political opponents would not be able to so much as "wash their hands" without Social Democrat approval and, so far at least, he has kept his promise to a "t".
Until now, for example, neither side has been able to agree on any kind of parliamentary trade-off - for example the post of speaker of the lower house in return for tolerance by the Social Democrats during a confidence vote. Instead, on Tuesday Prime Minister and Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek once again indicated that as far as his party was concerned, the Three Party coalition was no longer a viable concept:
"Let me repeat in all seriousness that from the point of view of the Social Democratic Party the three-party concept is now 'closed'. I have to say that we're ready to negotiate, although there too, proposals put forward by the Civic Democrats and their political partners have become increasingly less acceptable."
From here it remains unclear what move the Three Party coalition - or even the Civic Democrats who won the election - will consider next. Later this week, Mr Topolanek will meet with the Czech president to explain the latest developments and perhaps possible solutions, but it difficult to fathom at this time just what those might be.
Outgoing Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, on the other hand, has already put together his own proposal and met with President Klaus on Tuesday. But, afterwards he failed to reveal any details on what solutions he might offer. As it stands now: although negotiations continue, two months after the election there is no breakthrough in sight.