Czech President confirms he will appoint technocrat PM

By bne IntelliNews June 25, 2013

Czech President Milos Zeman confirmed on June 24 he will appoint a technocrat to head a caretaker government that will replace the three-party coalition cabinet of Petr Necas who resigned last week after a corruption and spying scandal, CTK news agency reported. According to media reports, a favourite for the post is Zeman’s aide and former finance minister Jiri Runok. Zeman declined to comment on the reports.

Zeman, a leftish former premier who won the country’s first direct presidential elections in January, said he will announce later today (June 25) his nominee for prime minister. Zeman has the sole right to appoint a prime minister.

The current governing coalition comprising Civic Democrats (ODS), TOP 09 and LIDEM want to form a new centre-right government to rule the country until scheduled general elections in mid-2014. ODS nominated lower house speaker Miroslava Nemcova to be country’s first woman prime minister. But the leftish opposition is calling for snap elections. The major opposition party, Social Democrats (CSSD) is tipped to win the next elections as it has been topping opinion polls ever since the last general elections in May 2010. According to the latest poll by ppm factum, CSSD would win 29.3% of the votes if elections were held today, followed by the Communists with a 16.1% backing and TOP 09 with 15%. Support for ODS slipped to a new record-low of 8%.

A technocrat government appointed by Zeman will need to be backed by 120 out of the 200 lower house deputies which seems highly unlikely having in mind that CSSD, the Communists and small Public Affairs said they want to dissolve the parliament and call early elections. Junior government party TOP 09 also hinted it may back such calls. If the parties succeed in securing the needed 120 votes to dissolve the parliament, the caretaker cabinet can rule the country until the snap vote which is to be held within three months after that meaning in September. The main task of the caretaker cabinet will be the approval of next year’s budget which must be submitted to the parliament by end-September.

The current political crisis in the Czech Republic has erupted earlier this month when Necas’ closest aide along with seven others, including former lawmakers and the current and ex heads of military intelligence, were charged with bribery and abuse of power in an unprecedented anti-graft operation. The scandal forced Necas to step down on June 17.

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