The Czech coalition government is serving its last hours in office, pending Wednesday's resignation of the entire Cabinet. The government fell on Saturday when Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla announced he was stepping down as head of government after he narrowly survived being ousted as party leader. Mr. Spidla, who served as Prime Minister for two years, found himself under increasing pressure after his party's poor showing in the recent elections to the European Parliament.
President Vaclav Klaus has said he plans to hold talks with the leaders of three parliamentary parties before deciding whom to commission with forming a new Czech government. They are the Social Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the opposition Civic Democrats. The talks are to begin on Thursday following the resignation of the present Cabinet. The standard procedure would be for the President to give this task to the head of the strongest party in parliament, currently acting chairman of the Social Democrats Stanislav Gross, but the Constitution allows him to make a different choice should he find it to be politically justified. Mr. Gross has indicated that he is ready for the task and is confident that he could form a viable cabinet which could remain in office until the next general elections, which are due in 2006. Meanwhile, the opposition Civic Democrats, who won the elections to the European Parliament, are pushing for early elections on home ground as well, possibly in the middle of next year.
The Czech crown, which dropped on news of the government's fall, has now fully recovered. The crown shed 30 hellers to the US dollar and 20 to the Euro, but made a surprisingly quick recovery climbing back to its former level within two hours. Raifeissenbank analyst Ivo Nejdl said the crown would probably spend some time on the weaker side of 32 crowns to the Euro, waiting for further moves on the Czech political scene. If the communists are invited to take part in the government in any way, there would be another drop, he said.
A former Czech politician Pavel Maixner is believed to have been arrested for illegal trade in arms. The police took five people into custody earlier this month and filed charges of illegal possession of arms and illegal arms trading. A reliable source from the state attorney's office told the CTK news agency that Pavel Maixner was one of the arrested. Maixner was a parliament deputy for the far right Republican Party between 1996 and 1998.
Tuesday is expected to be partly cloudy with day temperatures between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius.
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