War of words intensifies between Prague Mayor and Prime Minister

02-10-2008

Prague Mayor Pavel Bém has upped the ante for his party leader in upcoming local elections. In an interview with the newspaper Hospodářské Noviny, Mr Bém stated that his Civic Democratic party must win around seven regional governor seats in order for the party leader and Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek to remain comfortable in his position. Most analysts predict that this is a wildly optimistic target, and have thus viewed Mr Bém’s comments as a potential challenge to Mr Topolánek’s leadership. Last week, Mr Topolánek accused Mr Bém along with rebel Civic Democrat MP Vlastimil Tlustý of trying to destroy his government. Mr Bém is widely viewed as positioning himself to replace Mr Topolánek, should his post become available. Local elections will be held on October 17.