Vaclav Klaus

Topolnek’s government resigns

October 11, 2006

President won’t appoint new Cabinet till after elections in two weeks

Prime Minister Mirek Topolnek’s Civic Democratic (ODS) government resigned Oct. 11 after little more than a month in power.

The move was widely expected after Topolnek failed to engineer a recent vote of confidence for the ODS in Parliament.

President Vclav Klaus accepted the resignation, but asked Topolnek to stay in power until a new Cabinet could be named, likely after the upcoming municipal and Senate elections Oct. 2021.

Klaus praised Topolnek, whom he tapped to be prime minister in August. “This government has shown that it intends to continue moving forward and to maintain the status quo,” Klaus said.

The status quo, of course, has been anything productive in recent months, after a general election in June delivered a lower house of Parliament split in half between the left and the right.

Topolnek, for his part, said the time his government spent running the country was a preparation for an early election, which the ODS wants to call in an effort to secure a stronger mandate to lead.

“Now we can only wish for a strong, capable government,” Topolnek said. “The quickest way to such a government will be a new general election.”

Topolnek’s rightleaning Cabinet, appointed Sept. 4, had 30 days to gain support from a 200member Chamber of Deputies.

By not moving to appoint a new prime minister, Klaus is trying to buy time, said Vladimr Prorok, a political analyst at the University of Economics in Prague. Klaus does not want to ask former Prime Minister Ji Paroubek to try again to break the deadlock in Parliament.

“Klaus is hoping that if the Civic Democrats do well in the Senate election, it will weaken Paroubek’s position,” Prorok said.

The constitution doesn’t stipulate whom the president can name prime minister or by when.

Paroubek, who would largely rely on the support of the communists for his leftleaning Cabinet, insists that he is capable of winning a vote of confidence in Parliament.

But Klaus has said he is unwilling to accept any government backed by the communists and would prefer to name an independent candidate.

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