Insight Central Europe News

13-10-2006

The rightist Czech government led by Mirek Topolanek submitted its resignation after just over a month in office, following its failure - as expected - to win a vote of confidence. The country's president Vaclav Klaus must now appoint a new prime minister. However, given the deadlocked situation in the Czech Parliament more than four months after elections, any new prime minister will find it difficult to form a majority.

In Poland the ruling conservative Law and Justice party forced through an adjournment of a session of parliament before deputies could vote on a motion to hold early elections. The vote gives Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski an extra week in which to decide whether to hold snap elections or return to a rocky alliance with Self Defence. Mr Kaczynski expelled the left wing party last month in a row over the budget and deploying troops to Afghanistan.

Meanwhile a fresh opinion poll put the rightist opposition Civic Platform ten points ahead of Law and Justice.

Prime Minister Kaczynski has also been making headlines after alleging that former Polish president Lech Walesa could have inspired secret service agents to arrange a car crash in a bid to silence him in the 1990s. Mr Walesa, a fierce critic of Mr Kaczynski and his president twin brother Lech, has said he is considering suing over the claims.

Austria's centre left leader Alfred Gusenbauer said he was ready to form a grand coalition between his Social Democrats and their conservative arch rivals - the only viable option for Mr Gusenbauer to form a government. However, Christian Democrat head Wolfgang Schussel has put on a show of defiance about accepting a junior role in such a deal.

The leaders of the Visegrad Four countries met on Tuesday in the Hungarian town of Visegrad where they formed their alliance after the fall of communism. The prime ministers of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic emphasised their desire to join the Schengen border-free zone next year, despite signals of a delay from the European Commission. Hungary's prime minister, Ferenc Gyurcsany said any such delay would be for political reasons and that the technical reasons cited were just a pretext.

planned meeting on the sidelines of the Visegrad summit between Mr Gyurcsany and the Slovak prime minister, Robert Fico, was cancelled amid differences over recent allegations of attacks on ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia. The Hungarian leader said such a meeting should only be held if it could be sure of not ending unsuccessfully.

13-10-2006

Choose Karel Gott´s greatest hit (More)