Czech govt survives no-confidence vote, awaits more

Pavel Vondra
30. 4. 2008 16:00
Opposition leader: Cabinet is digging its own grave
I win, you lose (Mirek Topolánek and Jiří Paroubek)
I win, you lose (Mirek Topolánek and Jiří Paroubek) | Foto: Tomáš Adamec, Aktuálně.cz

Prague - The ruling three-party coalition of Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek survived yet another attempt by the opposition to bring it down.

It was a third one to date and there are bound to be more, judging by the statement of the leader of the opposition Social Democrats (ČSSD), Jiří Paroubek, who allegedly took inspiration from Silvio Berlusconi's 29 shots at the cabinet of Romano Prodi in Italy.

"We are not going to do it so many times but we'll give it a couple of more tries, for sure," said Paroubek after failing to muster the 101 votes needed to send the government packing.

The motion was supported by 98 MPs - all social democrats and communists. Two former ČSSD members - Miloš Melčák and Michal Pohanka - whose support in confidence vote allowed the government to take power in the first place, voted against it as did all the government MPs.

Getting used to it

"We will have to get used to the fact that this government has fragile support and that the opposition will keep testing it. I do believe it is needlessly taking our time away from work, even though the opposition certainly has the right to call for these motions," said PM Topolánek.

But his arch-rival Paroubek was unapologetic: "This government is digging its own grave… We demand for it to revise its policies, which is why we have called for this vote of no-confidence," he said, referring to the coalition's reform agenda.

Aside from trimming down the public spending and welfare benefits and introducing healthcare fees, the cabinet of Topolánek's Civic Democrats (ODS), Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) and Greens has enraged the left-wing opposition by negotiating with the US government about hosting a military radar base in the Brdy region, southwest of Prague.

Read more: Opposition parties want to see treaties on radar base

The base is meant to become a part of the American missile defense shield. The agreements are to be finished and signed in the next month or so, the government said.

 

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