Czech Republic election likely in November, October possible


Czechs will likely hold a parliamentary election in early November after the Constitutional Court threw into doubt the Oct. 9-10 poll, Prime Minister Jan Fischer said on Thursday.

Analysts hope a quick election will bring in a government with a strong political mandate to push through reforms to tackle the country’s deteriorating public finances and feeble economy.

An early election had been called for October after a no-confidence vote brought down the centre-right cabinet in March. The central European country has since been run by a weak interim government.

But the Constitutional Court suspended the election pending a complaint by a member of parliament against the date.

Political leaders are looking at ways to keep hopes of an early election alive, including changing the constitution to allow the lower house of parliament to dissolve itself.

Fischer said two options were being studied.

“The two options diverge in how to reach the election date, whether to return to October 9-10 … which could be tough because it could be more easily challenged.

“Then there is the second possibility — to call (the election) in line with a new constitutional law in the shortest possible time, which takes us to November 6-7,” Fischer told reporters.

Fischer has led an interim technocrat administration since March, but has lacked the political power to push through savings as parties refused to sign up to tax hikes and spending cuts ahead of the election, called eight months ahead of the end of the usual parliamentary term.

The court froze the October election date pending a complaint by one retiring deputy who said he had the right to serve his full four-year term. The court ruling angered political leaders who accused judges of disregarding the country’s public interest.

“Extending the current state threatens the ability of our country to manage the (economic) crisis … and preserve the basis for renewal of prosperity,” President Vaclav Klaus told a news conference.

Fischer warned that the risk the country would have to start 2010 with a provisional budget was rising with late polls.

Thompson Reuters

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