The government of the Czech Republic resigned on 24 March, after losing a parliamentary vote of no-confidence over its handling of the economic crisis. The three-party coalition of the right-wing Civic Democrats (ODS), the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) and the Greens (SZ) mustered 96 votes in the 200-seat lower house; 101 MPs voted against the government, while three were absent. Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek will serve as caretake Prime Minster until a new government is formed.
The collapse of the government comes at the most inopportune moment, just days before US President Barack Obama visits Prague for talks with Czech and European officials. The Czech Republic is holder of the EU's rotating presidency until June.
The Czech government becomes the third EU member state administration to collapse this year, after the Latvian government collapsed in February, and the Hungarian earlier in March. Hungarian PM Ferenc Gyurcsány has proposed three candidates to succeed him in April: György Surányi, former head of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences; Ferenc Glatz; and Andras Vertes, head of the GKI economic research institute. Opposition party Fidesz wants early elections.
The move marked the first time a government in the Czech Republic was ousted since the country came into existence after the former Czechoslovakia split in 1993.
According to the Czech constitution, President Václav Klaus will appoint a new Prime Minister and ask him or her to form a government, which is expected to happen by early April.
25 March 2009