Opposition Civic Democrats: ready to overthrow the government

08-03-2005

On Saturday Prime Minister Stanislav Gross made a public apology for his behaviour in connection with the row over his personal finances that had caused the current government crisis in the Czech Republic. For the time being at least, the crisis seems to be over. But the main opposition party, the right-of-centre Civic Democrats say that an apology is not enough. With their preferences soaring in the polls, they want to initiate a vote of no-confidence in the government, and push for an early election.

Prime Minister Stanislav Gross, photo: CTKPrime Minister Stanislav Gross, photo: CTK According to the Civic Democrats, public trust in the government and its prime minister has been shaken beyond repair.

"I think it is completely clear today that the government is not able to manage their own affairs. I think they are not able to lead this country, so the only solution is the end of this government."

Vlastimil TlustyVlastimil Tlusty That was a senior Civic Democrat MP Vlastimil Tlusty. According to his party colleague, Jan Zahradil, the Civic Democrats would like to initiate a vote of no-confidence, but they would prefer to wait for the outcome of the ruling Social Democrats' party congress which takes place at the end of this month.

"We have heard the statement of the junior coalition partner - the Christian Democratic Party - that they are ready to wait until the congress of the Social Democrats and then afterwards, according the congress results, they are ready to act again. Therefore we believe that the right time for this no-confidence vote will come after the congress of the Social Democratic Party which either is going to solve the whole situation or it will create even new problems. Then we would of course initiate this vote."

In case the government falls, the Czech constitution provides a number of possibilities how to solve the situation, says Jan Zahradil.

"There is a possibility of early elections, there is a possibility of a minority government, there is a possibility of a temporary, so-called technical government supported throughout the parliament....So I don't think our constitution would not be able to give instructions what to do and how to act if this government fails. We believe that the clearest and probably the most transparent possibility would be to have early elections as soon as possible."

Jan ZahradilJan Zahradil There is of course a question if there is enough political will in the Czech Parliament to support the Civic Democrats' plans for a no-confidence vote. According to political analyst Vladimira Dvorakova the opposition Civic Democrats (ODS) can hardly count on the support of other parties to win a parliamentary majority in favor of early elections.

"I think this can be a problem. If the ODS would like to reach the no-confidence vote, they would need to find also a support of the Communist Party. They are not able to gain 101 votes for no-confidence. Even in the case the Christian Democrats would decide to vote no- confidence, it would not be sufficient. So they will probably need to communicate with the Communists. If they would not communicate with the Communists or if the Communists decide not to support this no-confidence vote, it is impossible."

08-03-2005