Czech political rivals agree on early elections

Other News Materials 28 March 2009 17:42 (UTC +04:00)

The leaders of the Czech Republic's two major rival political parties, outgoing Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek and Social Democratic head Jiri Paroubek, agreed to hold early elections, government officials said Saturday.

"They met and agreed on early elections," Topolanek's spokeswoman, Jana Bartosova, told the German Press Agency dpa.

However, the spokeswoman would not comment on Czech media reports suggesting a general election could take place in October.

Czech news agency CTK had earlier reported that Paroubek had indicated October as the month in which the vote could be held.

Topolanek and Paroubek, known for their personal dislike of each other, met for talks on Friday evening, a day after Topolanek resigned following a defeat in parliament.

The main opposition Social Democrats had called a vote of no-confidence in Topolanek, which resulted in the collapse of his three-party centre-right ruling coalition.

Topolanek's cabinet, which also heads the European Union's rotating presidency, is currently acting as a caretaker until a new parliamentary majority can be formed.

Paroubek said that his party would only tolerate Topolanek's cabinet until the beginning of June and on condition that his Interior Minister Ivan Langer steps down, the CTK report said.

Czech voters had been scheduled to go to the polls in mid-2010.