President Václav Klaus said on Monday that currently, he considers a three-party coalition of the Civic Democrats, TOP 09 and Public Affairs the only viable option for a government coalition. He added that he was not yet ready to announce which party would get the first chance to put together a government. The president’s statement followed talks about the formation of the next government which he held throughout the day with the leaders of all five parties that made it into the lower house.
On Monday, President Václav Klaus met leaders of all five parties that
made it into the lower house to talk about the formation of the next
government. The leader of the TOP 09 party, Karel Schwarzenberg, informed
Mr Klaus of the progress of coalition talks between his party and the Civic
Democrats, which he said were going very well. The acting leader of the
Social Democrats, Bohuslav Sobotka, said that while he is not convinced
that his party would be able to succeed in forming a government, he still
believes that, in line with tradition, the winning party should be given
the first chance to form a government. The leader of the Civic Democrats,
Petr Nečas, expressed his wish to form a coalition of fiscal
responsibility with the TOP 09 and the Public Affairs parties.
Even though the Social Democrats gained the most votes and seats in elections to the lower house, their chances of creating a viable coalition seem slim. It is now up to the Czech president to decide who will get the first chance to put together a government. Mr Klaus has not yet made any statements regarding when he is planning to announce a decision.
On Monday, the head of the current caretaker government, Prime Minister Jan Fischer, called on deputies of the Czech lower house to not make any further proposals or suggest initiatives that could deepen the country’s state budget deficit. Mr Fischer said that he hopes the new government will be fiscally and socially conscious at the same time. He added that he hopes the formation of a new government will be swift, and that he is prepared to dissolve the current parliament after the first session of the newly elected lower house, which could take place on June 22.
The negotiation teams of the Civic Democrats and the TOP 09 party met on
Monday for talks over the creation of a centre-right coalition, which they
expect will be joined by the Public Affairs party. The two parties agreed
on six basic points that would form the core of the future coalition’s
program. Along with salary reductions for politicians, the two parties
declared senators and MPs should be granted less immunity in the future.
The Civic Democrats and TOP 09 both put curbing the Czech public deficit at
the top of their priorities for the future government.
The Civic Democrats won 53 and TOP 09 41 seats. A deal with Public Affairs, with 24 seats, would give them a comfortable majority with 118 seats. Mr. Nečas ruled out on Czech Television on Sunday a coalition with the left-wing Social Democrats saying it would bring no benefit to the country.
Following a meeting between the negotiating teams of the Public Affairs party and the Civic Democrats on Monday, the head of the former, Radek John, signaled his support for a three-party right-of-center coalition. He added that forming a government with the Social Democrats would involve seeking support from the Communist Party, which Public Affairs considers unacceptable. Mr John said that nonetheless, negotiations with the Civic Democrats and TOP 09 would be very difficult.
The Christian Democrats will focus on gaining voters’ support in the Senate, senator and Christian Democrat member Rostislav Slavotínek said on Monday. Since the party did not gain enough votes to surpass the five-percent threshold needed to win seats in the parliament, a number of its candidates for posts in the lower house will now be able to run in the elections for the Senate that are scheduled to take place in the fall. The Christian Democrats’ deputy leader said on Monday that the party needed innovation and fresh ideas if it wanted to win back voters in the next lower house elections. Christian Democrats leader Cyril Svoboda stepped down on Saturday following the defeat of his party.
In an interview with Monday’s edition of Lidové noviny, President Václav Klaus described the election results as a political earthquake that had not left one stone standing upon another. He highlighted the sharp drop in support for the two main parties blaming this on the protracted stalemate after the previous tied elections in 2006, the association of previous Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolánek with top business leaders, political behaviour of former Social Democrat leader Jiří Paroubek and demonization of politicians by the media. The president said that there were still big questions about the two new breakthrough parties, TOP 09 and Public Affairs, and how they would behave.
The head of the right-of-center TOP 09 party, Karel Schwarzenberg, said in
an interview published in Monday’s edition of Právo that he did not know
what the Public Affairs party stood for and what it hoped to achieve in a
centre-right government coalition. He added that before he enters into
talks with someone, he likes to know who he is dealing with and that he
fears that agreeing on details with the Public Affairs party may prove
Some analysts believe that the Public Affairs party led a populist election campaign with a rather vague party program.
The Constitutional Court has turned down an appeal from the far-right Workers’ Party, which was banned by the Supreme Administrative Court in February on grounds that it promotes xenophobia and racial hatred. This is the final verdict and cannot be appealed within the Czech court system. The head of the Workers’ Party said that the party would now appeal this decision at the European Court for Human Rights in Strasburg. Some members of the banned Workers’ Party are now active in the Workers’ Party for Social Justice, which has a similar party program and uses some of the same symbols as the banned party. It gained 1.14 percent of votes in the recent elections.
The 50th International Film Festival for Children and Youth started in Zlín on Sunday. A large part of this year’s programme looks at the film creations of Czechoslovakia and in particular the work of animation pioneer Karel Zeman. This year is the 100th anniversary of his birth. One of this year’s star guests is British actor Sir Christopher Lee.