Czech President selects Oct 25-26 for snap vote date

By bne IntelliNews August 26, 2013

Czech President Milos Zeman has called early elections for October 25-26 confirming an earlier announced date, Radio Prague reported.

Zeman made the announcement after he met with the leaders of the parliamentary parties on August 23 and three day after the lawmakers voted to dissolve the parliament's lower chamber clearing the way to early elections to end a political turmoil that started with the collapse of the centre-right government of Petr Necas in June.

According to the Czech Constitution, Zeman must formally dissolve the parliament something he said will do on August 28. Within 60 days of dissolving the parliament the president is required to select an election date.

Opinion polls show CSSD to likely win the early vote by a double-digit margin. According to a poll by Sanep agency taken on Aug 8-14, CSSD is favoured by 27.9% of the voters, well ahead of the second-place Communists with a support of 16.7% and TOP 09 with a 13.1% backing. But CSSD will likely need support from other parties in the new parliament to govern. CSSD leader and likely the next PM Bohuslav Sobotka told Reuters in a recent interview that his party will be seeking to form a minority government supported by other groups, including the Communists. This would mean that the Communists might get a share in power for the first time since 1990, a year after the collapse of communism in the former Czechoslovakia that peacefully split in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.

CSSD has pledged to tax utilities, telecoms and banks and raise taxes for high-earners to boost public revenue as well as to increase public investments and create new jobs to ensure that the economy does not slip back into recession after it exited its longest slump on record in the second quarter. The party has also promised to lower VAT on drugs and raise the minimum wage.

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