Czech premier to resign Thursday, Klaus may not re-appoint him

Other News Materials 26 March 2009 13:48 (UTC +04:00)

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek is to submit his government's resignation to President Vaclav Klaus on Thursday, two days after his cabinet failed a parliamentary confidence test half way through its presidency of the European Union, dpa reported.

Topolanek is to govern in a caretaker role until a new government is sworn in. President Vaclav Klaus is now the kingmaker of Czech politics as he is to pick the next premier. He has no deadline to do so.

Analysts have expected the cabinet to complete its term in the EU's chair ending June 30, a scenario also backed by opposition Social Democrats who summoned the confidence motion.

But hints by an aide to the president, Ladislav Jakl, suggest that the president may try to rush Topolanek out of office, regardless of country's EU presidency ending June 30.

"It is impossible to suspend democratic processes because of organizer's role," Jakl said in a Czech Television interview on Wednesday evening, in a reference playing down the importance of the EU presidency.

Topolanek accused his foe Klaus, who is an outspoken critic of the EU and its reform Lisbon Treaty, from being involved in cabinet's collapse.

In a Czech Television interview late Wednesday, Topolanek said that "nobody can doubt" Klaus's role in toppling the cabinet.

President's intentions remain unclear. Klaus aide Jakl hinted on Czech Television late Wednesday that Klaus may choose someone who has a real shot at forming a workable cabinet.

This appeared to indicate that Klaus may not re-appoint the outgoing premier as his chances to form a majority cabinet appear slim.

To form one, Topolanek would have to strike a deal with his bitter foe, Social Democratic leader Jiri Paroubek. Long-standing animosities would likely hamper such a deal.

At stake is the Lisbon Treaty. The accord is among the reasons for Topolanek's fall as one of his party's renegade lawmakers who voted the government down cited his opposition to the pact as the reason.

The lawmaker, Jan Schwippel, is among Klaus followers within Topolanek's Civic Democratic Party who reject further integration of the 27-member bloc.

If Topolanek, who inked the treaty on behalf of the Czech Republic in December 2007, loses sway within his party, accord's protracted ratification in the Czech Republic may be under a threat.

If adopted by all 27 members, the pact, stalled after a failed referendum in Ireland, would overhaul EU's institutions in a bid to streamline decision-making in the union.