Current Affairs Coalition leaders likely to reach deal on government’s future
The fate of the Czech government will be decided later on Tuesday as coalition leaders are meeting in an attempt to save the cabinet. The junior coalition Public Affairs party rocked the boat once again last week when they threatened to pull out of the coalition. But before the week was over, the party seemed happy to accept an offer by the Prime Minister to settle their disputes at the negotiating table while latest reports suggest the coalition leaders are indeed likely to reach agreement.
Leaders of the coalition Civic Democrat, TOP 09 and Public Affairs parties met for talks on Tuesday to determine whether the centre-right Czech government will continue or whether the country is headed for early general elections.
The latest government crisis was last week triggered by an ultimatum the junior coalition Public Affairs party put to Prime Minister Petr Nečas. Public Affairs said Mr Nečas had until the end of the month to raise the government’s low credibility, to slash three ministries, and to take several more or less arbitrary steps. However, commentators noted the Public Affairs’ unexpected move had to do with the fact that the party’s de-facto leader, Vít Bárta, is being tried for corruption.
It is not the first time that Public Affairs has rocked the coalition boat. But this time, its coalition partners put their foot down, and said they would rather take their chances in an early election than accommodate more demands by their increasingly unpredictable junior coalition party.
The reaction seems to have caught Public Affairs unprepared. Early elections would almost certainly deliver a coup de grace to the junior coalition party whose voter support has plummeted and is now far below the threshold needed to enter the lower house.
Taking advantage of the Public Affairs’ ill-conceived move, the Civic Democrats and TOP leaders came up with their own demands. For the government to go on, Public Affairs will now have to agree to further budget cuts and austerity measures which they have been opposing.
All three parties engaged in some muscle-flexing ahead of the meeting; Public Affairs said they were still considering quitting the government while the Civic Democrats and TOP 09 parties reiterated their threats of early elections.
But with all probability, that would also send the Civic Democrats and TOP 09 MPs into the opposition benches – in considerably fewer numbers – which is why their leaders are all but likely to reach some kind of deal on Tuesday which would remain in place until the next crisis.