The lower house of the Czech parliament will hold an extraordinary session on August 16 to vote on its dissolution paving the way for early elections likely in October, before a regular vote due next May, CTK news agency reported citing Eva Smerdova, press secretary of the house's chairwoman Miroslava Nemcova's office.
The vote is aimed at putting an end to a political crisis that started in June with the collapse of the centre-right government of Petr Necas amid a bribery and spying scandal. Then President Milos Zeman appointed his close leftist ally and economist Jiri Rusnok to form a new government against the will of the main political parties that accused him of trying to grab powers that should belong to the parliament. As expected Rusnok’s government lost a vote of confidence in parliament on August 7. The vote prompted TOP 09, one of the partners in the former centre-right ruling coalition, to join calls by the leftist parties in parliament for snap elections. TOP 09 support will provide the needed constitutional majority of 120 lawmakers in the 200-seat parliament for the motion to be successful. Together TOP 09, the main centre-left party Social Democrats (CSSD) and the Communists have 122 votes.
According to the Czech Constitution, even if lawmakers vote to end the current parliament’s term the President is the one who should dissolve the chamber and after that decision is made early elections should be held within 60 days. Zeman has no constitutional deadline to make that decision and there is a debate about whether he would drag his feet allowing Rusnok’s government to stay in power longer.
Latest opinion polls show CSSD as the likely winner in the next general elections as it holds a double-digit lead over other parties. CSSD has been calling for early elections since the collapse of Necas’ government but an earlier motion failed to win support in parliament.
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