Next government likely to push for change in electoral law - Analyst

29-06-2004

The three-party coalition government led by the centre-left Social Democrats is to resign on Wednesday. With the main opposition Civic Democrats riding high in the polls, how likely is it their party leadership will push for early elections?

Vladimir Spidla, photo: CTKVladimir Spidla, photo: CTK President Vaclav Klaus, himself the former chairman of the Civic Democrats, is expected to receive the official resignation of Vladimir Spidla as Prime Minister on Wednesday, along with the entire cabinet.

The following day Mr Klaus is due to begin formal negotiations with Mr Spidla's heir apparent, acting Social Democrat party chairman Stanislav Gross, as well as other party leaders, on the formation of a new government.

Mr Gross reportedly wants to form a two-party minority government with the centrist Christian Democrats, with the tacit support of the other current junior party in the coalition, the right of centre Freedom Union.

But the Civic Democrats leadership has said they would only support a Social Democrat-led cabinet that leads to early elections.

Stanislav Gross, photo: CTKStanislav Gross, photo: CTK I spoke with political analyst Vaclav Zak about the most likely shape of the next government and how probable it is that early elections will be held.

"The president will try to negotiate with several parties from Parliament and he will try to pick a person who will be able to put forward a reasonable government, a government that can win a vote of confidence in the lower chamber."

"The most probable outcome of this crisis is that there will be some government that will try to change the election law, so that after the elections the majority in Parliament could guarantee some stability of the government."

"In the present situation, all elections are leading to an almost 50-50 ratio in the lower chamber. The present situation was 101 out of 200 MPs. So, maybe it would be a reasonable solution for resolving the present crisis."

And as far as early elections are concerned?

"To have early elections in the present situation, there is a very awkward procedure of three attempts to name governments and after three failures to name a government, the lower chamber of Parliament can be dissolved by the president.

"The second possibility is to pass a constitutional law, with a three-fifths constitutional majority, in both houses of parliament, the lower and upper, and it is highly improbable, especially in the Senate that there could be found such a majority for passing a constitutional shortening the election period.

Civic Democratic Party, photo: CTKCivic Democratic Party, photo: CTK And could this be resolved by agreement between the parties and not involve any change in the law itself?

"You know, I think that such a solution could happen, but not without several attempts to form a government. So, I think it might happen, but not in the very foreseeable future."

So the most likely scenario then will be...

"The most likely scenario is that there will be a government based on the agreement of the Social Democratic party and the Civic Democratic Party — and that government would try to change the election law."

29-06-2004

Choose Karel Gott´s greatest hit (More)