Amendment allowing November elections enters into force

14-09-2009

An amendment to the Czech constitution allowing the lower house to dissolve itself if at least three fifths of MPs vote in favour came into force on Monday. The amendment was hastily approved by both houses of Parliament last week and signed by the president and prime minister at the weekend in order to facilitate the holding of early elections on November 6 and 7. The lower house is expected to approve its own dissolution on Tuesday.

Elections had been called for October 8 and 9. However, they were cancelled by the Constitutional Court, which upheld a complaint by independent MP Miloš Melčák that a one-off amendment allowing for them was unlawful. Mr Melčák and another independent MP Juraj Raninec have said they may take the second constitutional amendment back to court. However, Christian Democrat leader Cyril Svoboda pointed out on Sunday that once the lower house is dissolved they will lose the right to appeal to the Constitutional Court.

The Czech Republic has had an interim government since May. There are concerns that a failure to form a new political government in the near future would have serious consequences for the country’s budget for next year; if a 2010 budget is not approved in time, a provisional budget without needed spending cuts would enter into force.